Wild Mushrooms, their Toxins and Symptoms of Poisoning Found in Central Himalayan Forest of Jageshwar
Mushrooms are macroscopic fungi which have been a part of diet since ancient times. They are easy to collect and can be stored for a long period of time. Not all mushrooms are edible. While, some are poisonous, others may be inedible because of their color, texture or odour. However, they are also known to be medicinal and have been seen to cure ailments like inflammation, weak immunity and cancer. The collection is not easy since many of them look strikingly similar in appearance. Hence, one may accidently pluck a toxic or inedible variety and end up getting poisoning which can also be highly fatal at times. Some mushrooms are so fatal that a person can even die from exposure to the spores of the mushroom. Hence, it is essential that the collector has sound knowledge of the varieties and that they take precautions during collection. An attempt has been made to list down different edible and inedible varieties of mushroom found in Jageshwar forest of Kumaun Himalayas, Uttarakhand. Identification of species was done on the basis of morphological, microscopic and culture characteristics with the help of standard monographs. In all, 34 varieties of edible and inedible mushrooms were found, out of which 18 species were found to be toxic in nature. The signs, symptoms and possible treatment of various poisonous species in this region are also tabulated to make it easy to differentiate between different kinds of poisoning.