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Amanita mushrooms


Fly agaric
Photo: Håkan Tunón.
 

In Sweden there are many kinds of Amanita mushrooms apart from fly agaric (Amanita muscaria). The poison in fly agaric consists of some alkaloids: muscarine, muscimol and ibot enic acid. These are toxic but seldom lethal and there are many different symptoms related to poisoning.

Two of the most lethal Amanita mushrooms are destroying angel (Amanita virosa) and death cap (Amanita phalloides). Cases of poisoning where these are involved are often extremely serious. The poison in them consists of peptides: amanita toxin and phallovtoxin.

The symptoms are stomach pains, diarrhoea and vomiting which occurs after 8-12 hours. This is followed by a quiet period of “recovery” before the symptoms of the destructive effects on the liver caused by the poison begin to be noticed. These can be pain in the liver, bleeding in the intestines and stomach and loss of consciousness. Death may occur after 4-6 days. Poisoning by death cap or destroying angel can be treated with silymarin, if treatment is given in the early stages, before damage to the liver becomes too extensive.