Amanita, perhaps, can be attributed to the most famous representatives of the vast and diverse mushroom kingdom. Far from everyone will be able to distinguish white mushroom from boletus, boletus from boletus, etc. But most people confidently and accurately determine the mushroom growing somewhere on the edge of the forest.
Its unusual, and often piercingly bright color, as it were, warns against danger. Indeed, the majority of Amanita (Amanita) fungi belonging to the Amanitaceae family (Amanitaceae) are poisonous, and some are deadly.
The name "fly agaric" itself appeared due to the property of this fungus to destroy the flies - these annoying and ubiquitous insects. And as you know, flies often lead to deterioration of food, are carriers of many, mainly intestinal infections, as well as worms eggs. It was noticed that dead fly insects are often found on the surface of the toadstools, which have a flat, concave cap in the center, and most of them are flies. The caps of these mushrooms were chopped by housewives into a bowl with milk or water, arranging a simple flycatcher. Much later it became known that the toadstools are not the direct cause of the death of insects. Flies just fell into a state of narcotic sleep. Immobilized, they drowned in water, which accumulated on the surface of the fungus and was saturated with its toxins.
In some nationalities, especially the Far North and Siberia, religious rituals and celebrations did not go without the use of fly-agaric, as an intoxicating or evoking vision means. To this end, the fly agaric were used both fresh and dried, as well as a decoction or infusion. Currently, there are also quite a few lovers of collecting these mushrooms to achieve an intoxicating effect.
Amanitas belong to the agaric mushrooms. They form quite large fruit bodies that have a centrally located, cylindrical stem with white flesh. It reveals the rest of the blanket in the form of a ring, often torn, and free, or attached to the base of the Volvo. The thick, fleshy cap has a smooth, or jagged edge. Its surface is covered with a thin film of various colors in various species, consisting of shades of green, white and red. In addition, on the upper surface of the cap are usually located whitish patches or flakes, located in the form of islands.
By their effects on humans, all the fly agaric can be divided into 5 groups:
- edible (Caesar mushroom, caesarean mushroom),
- conditionally edible (float yellow-brown),
- inedible (tall fly agaric, thick fly agaric),
- highly toxic (red fly agaric, panther fly agaric),
- deadly venomous (pale toadstool, smelly fly agaric).
Among the diversity of species, the most famous are the toadstool, red mushroom, the panther mushroom, the mushroom fly agaric, the stinky fly agaric.
Toxicity of fly agarics is due to neurotropic (psychotropic) bioactive substances, the composition and properties of which in different species of this genus can vary greatly. So, for example, the pale grebe known to many belongs to the genus Amanita. Its poison is deadly to humans and severe poisoning among inexperienced mushroom pickers is observed annually. However, in general, poisoning by amanita are extremely rare. And all this thanks to the characteristic, vivid appearance, which allows you to easily distinguish them from edible mushrooms.
Red Amanita poisoning (Amanita muscaria)
The red fly agaric has a cylindrical white, less often yellowish, cylindrical stem with a thickening at the base, where an adherent multilayer volvo consisting of several rings is located. In the upper part of the legs you can see a well-marked, wide membranous ring. The cap is usually bright red, with age it may become orange-red. White flakes are well pronounced on its surface. However, in young mushrooms they may be absent, and in old ones they can be washed away by rain.
Widely distributed in Russia. It grows from August to October, prefers acidic soils near spruce and birch trees, with the roots of which the red mushroom forms mycorrhiza. In folk medicine, it is considered effective for joint pain (anti-inflammatory and analgesic) and in the treatment of cancer. However, these data do not have scientific substantiation and confirmation.
The poisonous properties of the red mushroom are due to the psychoactive action of ibotenic acid and its metabolites (muscimol, muscadol), and the cholinomimetic effect of muscarin. The most powerful psychodisleptic is muscimol, which has a pronounced hypnotic and dissociative effect.
After eating the Amanita in food for the purpose of stupefying, a characteristic staging of intoxication is observed.
1) Initial manifestations are expressed in unreasonable gaiety, volubility, increased sociability, increased dexterity and endurance. Thoughts flow quickly and easily, vigor and mood elevation are noted, physical strength increases, at such a moment everything seems to be easily accomplished, nothing is impossible. At the same time, as a rule, there is no aggression towards others or to oneself. On the contrary, all people are "lovely and beautiful."
2) After some time, the feeling of the variability of the surrounding space comes, the objects around seem huge, auditory and visual hallucinations appear. At the same time, self-awareness and meaningful communication are preserved.
3) Gradually, the connection with reality is lost, a person enters a state of altered consciousness, when hallucinatory experiences are the only reality. For some time, motor activity is preserved, but conscious verbal contact is impossible at this moment.
4) After 10-12 hours (on average), heavy, prolonged sleep occurs.
After awakening, lethargy, apathy, fatigue, general weakness and indisposition are noted.
Muscarin stimulates M-cholinergic receptors. In case of poisoning with this type of fly agaric, a cholinergic syndrome develops, which is characterized by: pupillary constriction (miosis), increased sweating and salivation, nausea, vomiting, loose stools, bronchospasm, a tendency to lower blood pressure and a decrease in heart rate, seizures may occur. In severe cases, it is possible death from cardiac arrest.
A lethal dose, according to unconfirmed reports, is the ingestion of 12–14 caps with an average diameter of red mushroom. It should be borne in mind that the toxic effect depends on body weight, the state of the body. In addition, the concentration of toxins in different fruit bodies of the fly agaric can vary. Repeated boiling reduces the toxicity of the fungus and, consequently, the severity of poisoning by toadstools.
Poisoning Amanita panther (Amanita pantherina)It is a poisonous mushroom of the Amanit family. It has a cylindrical, broadened at the base, hollow leg with white flesh on the cut, which does not change its color. This is its main difference from the edible gray-pink mushroom mushroom (Amanita rubescens), which is highly valued by experienced mushroom pickers for its taste and healing properties. In the air, the flesh of the leg of this mushroom gradually acquires a characteristic intense wine-pink color.
The panther mushroom cap of a mushroom at the beginning is hemispherical in shape, which then expands more and more and eventually becomes almost flat. Superficially located film of brown, dark gray or brownish color with multiple whitish flakes. The remains of a blanket in the form of a white adherent volva and a low, hanging, often torn ring, which may also be missing.
Also, like the red fly agaric, the panther mushroom fly agaric is distributed almost everywhere. But, unlike him, he likes alkaline soils and forms mycorrhiza with most trees, both coniferous and deciduous. It grows from July to September, but can also occur in October-November.
Highly poisonous fungus, due to the complex effect on the human body of Mukarin, Muscaridin, Hyoscyamine and Scopolamine, which is expressed in a special picture of intoxication.
Poisoning Amanita stinky, or white toadstool (Amanita virosa)
Deadly poisonous, cap mushroom with a cylindrical leg. having a flocculent bloom and tuberous thickening at the base. The flesh is white, with an unpleasant taste and odor, vaguely reminiscent of chlorine. Cap semi-spherical shape with a pointed tip, then convex. The skin is white, shiny, slimy and sticky to the touch.
Widespread. It can form mycorrhiza with many trees, but especially likes sandy soils and moist coniferous forests, as well as blueberry bushes. It grows from June to November.
In case of poisoning with a mushroom smelly, the likelihood of death is extremely high. Contains amanitin, virosin and other toxins. 30 minutes after eating nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache. dizziness, loose stools, impaired consciousness, agitation and hallucinations, convulsions, impaired cardiovascular activity. Also, as in the case of pale toadstool poisoning, a period of “imaginary well-being” is possible with a short-term improvement in well-being. The liver and kidneys are affected. Death without timely help for 10-12 days from the moment of poisoning.
How does a panther mushroom look like
Panther fly agaric is considered a kind of younger brother of the whole variety of these mushrooms. However, it has not so attractive characteristic appearance as other species. In this regard, it is sometimes confused with other types of mushrooms, quite edible. It is especially easy to confuse it with edible mushrooms at the very beginning of growth, therefore before going to gather mushrooms, it is necessary to study well the characteristic features of this mushroom in order to distinguish it.
The main shade of the cap of this mushroom is olive, which often leads to being confused with edible mushrooms. In general, depending on the age of the fungus, the color of the cap varies from light green to brown. In addition, completely inexperienced mushroom pickers sometimes confuse young Panther mushrooms with boletus and cargo.
The flesh is white, in the cut it remains white, but it is not noticeably watery. The flesh is very fragile and breaks easily, has an unpleasant smell, like most fly agarics, and has a sweetish aftertaste. There are many petals, they are white in color, never adhere to the stem and sometimes have brown spots, especially in older mushrooms.
The mushroom leg, depending on its age, is 4 to 12 cm tall, thin, usually about a centimeter in diameter. The stem tapers slightly upward, at the bottom forms a characteristic tuber, empty inside. A characteristic white pile can be seen on the surface of the stem, the ring is very low or sometimes absent. Often this species is confused with edible amanita, gray-pink.
Amanita breeds spores, feels great next to many trees and is found in almost all forests: deciduous, coniferous and mixed. Most often it is noticed growing under an oak and a pine, for growth the mushroom prefers a soil with a lot of alkali. This species is most widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere, it prefers a temperate climate without heat or severe frosts. Growth season is in the middle of summer and ends around mid-September. In those places where the panther mushroom grows, there are never any insects, since they all die only from the smell of this mushroom.
The danger of the panther mushroom
This mushroom is extremely poisonous, like many other varieties of fly agaric, contains toxins hyoscyamine, muscarin, scopolamine. These same toxins characteristic of henbane are contained in datura and some other types of poisonous plants.
The panther fly agaric is much more poisonous than the red fly agaric. In addition to the already mentioned toxic substances, there are some specific substances that quite quickly cause complete paralysis of smooth muscles in the human body. In addition, it contains hyocyamine, which is mainly responsible for death: it acts so quickly and strongly that no one survives after serious poisoning.
This toxin paralyzes the respiratory center, as well as the cardiovascular system, which leads to cardiac arrest and complete inability to breathe. When this toxin enters the bloodstream, it instantly coagulates, and all the muscles cramp.
It is believed that the panther mushroom with poisoning in the first place causes attacks of aggression in humans, along with the influx of strength and energy. There is a story that in the Russian army, soldiers were specially given a panty mushroom before the battle, in order to stimulate their fighting qualities and save them from fear. After this effect, hallucinations follow, and in cases of severe poisoning, a person loses consciousness, falls into a lethargic sleep or coma, which can be fatal.
The benefits of fly agaric
Despite the fact that the mushrooms of this species contain a large amount of toxic substances, certain types of fly-agaric are used to produce medicines or for economic purposes.
- These mushrooms are used to get rid of insects, so that they get their name.
- Some mushrooms contain a special substance that is used as one of the ingredients to create a drug that has antitumor activity.
- The ancients used fly-agarics in small quantities in order to achieve hallucinations, it was a necessary part of rituals and ceremonies.
- Tinctures and extracts of fly agaric, prepared according to special recipes, are used as medicines for diseases of the joints and bones.
- In modern pharmaceuticals, the substances contained in the fly-agaric are used to relieve the spasm of cerebral vessels, as well as to help those suffering from sclerosis.
So the fly agarics bring not only harm, but also benefits, including the panther. Perhaps, with the development of science and pharmaceuticals, new medicines based on them will be created.
How to distinguish
The most similar species that is found in our area is a gray-pink Amanita, quite edible. The easiest way to distinguish between these two species is to look at the color of the pulp, damaging it.
In the edible mushroom, the flesh becomes pink in color when damaged, in the panther remains white. If we compare these two types of mushrooms, it will become noticeable that they are actually very different.
Edible mushrooms are much larger, have a thicker stem and are distinguished by their base. The flakes on the cap are different: in the poisonous they are snow-white in color, while in the gray-pink they have a gray-pink color corresponding to its name.
First signs of poisoning
Amanita poisoning has characteristic first symptoms. First of all, the substances contained in them act on the cerebral cortex, which causes auditory and visual hallucinations, behavioral changes. If the dosage was large enough, the person has convulsions and he loses consciousness. On average, the appearance of the first signs is necessary from half an hour to 5 or 6 hours, depending on the human body and the amount of the fungus eaten.
Poisoning with a panther mushroom is much more serious and serious than ordinary poisoning.
The first symptoms of poisoning appear fairly quickly, sometimes just 20 minutes after eating a panther mushroom are enough. The first physical signs of poisoning are characteristic signals of food poisoning, such as diarrhea and vomiting. In addition, there is difficulty breathing, the heart begins to beat faster, the temperature rises strongly and hallucinations appear.
If a person is poisoned by a fly agaric, first of all you need to take him to the nearest hospital so that he will be helped. With regard to emergency assistance before the arrival of the ambulance, a person needs to wash the stomach, using a weak solution of potassium permanganate or soda. It is necessary to use about a liter of this solution and continue washing until the water is clear.
After that, it is necessary to use effective sorbents; activated carbon is excellent for this. It is necessary to drink it in the calculation of one tablet about 8-10 kg of weight. If possible, it is also necessary to perform an intestinal lavage.
You can use antispasmodics to relieve the serious pains that occur during poisoning. Provided that the poisoning is not very serious, all this will be enough to make the patient feel better. While waiting for the ambulance, it is necessary to drink salted water, preferably a little, but in large quantities, to restore the balance of salt and water in the body. In any case, medical care is needed for poisoning, it significantly increases the chances of recovery.