Beware of accumulated morels

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Accumulated morels are poisonous even after heating

In spring, many mushroom pickers are driven outdoors. The delicious mushrooms can be tastefully prepared with a salad, as soup or as a vegetable side dish. An older specimen quickly gets caught between the fresh morels. However, experts warn against eating accumulated morels. Fungus poisoning can lead to neurological poisoning syndrome.

Neurological poisoning syndrome due to accumulated morels The toxicologist Professor Siegmar Berndt from the German Society for Mycology (DGfM) urgently advises mushroom pickers to sort out older morels and never eat them. Consuming the accumulated mushrooms can lead to neurological poisoning syndrome, which can be manifested by circulatory problems, malaise, tremors, dizziness, feeling drunk and intestinal and stomach problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Those affected may experience uncertainty when walking and walking difficulties. If poisoning is suspected, the poison emergency call should be contacted.

French researchers have analyzed the neurological symptoms of intoxication using 300 cases from 30 years. The symptoms usually occurred twelve hours after the meal. Berndt reported this at a meeting of mushroom experts in the medical university in Hanover. Not all symptoms would always appear. Some patients only suffered from gastrointestinal complaints or dizziness and tremors with walking difficulties.

Which substances that cause poisoning is still unclear. It is suspected that a neurotoxin leads to the symptoms of poisoning, which cannot be made harmless even by the intense heat that arises when cooking or roasting, explained Berndt. According to the expert, the concentration of the toxin in the morels' fruiting bodies is probably rather low. Therefore, poisoning only occurs after eating a large portion of rotten morels. "At least six large morels" would have to be consumed for this, says Brendt. Presumably, the mushroom poison is formed especially in older specimens. The expert therefore advises that only fresh and unspoiled morels be prepared. If mushrooms smelled musty or no longer looked fresh, they should no longer be on the plate.

Note the difference between morel mushrooms and poisonous morel mushrooms. In spring, mushroom pickers find morel mushrooms particularly well hidden in floodplain and deciduous forests if the soil is not too acidic. Other locations for the popular mushrooms can be burns, wooden mulch or bushes. Morels can be recognized by their bright, high stems, on which a round, honeycomb-looking, beige-yellow to brownish hat sits.

A distinction is made between pointed and table morel. While the fruiting bodies of the morel in the lowlands shortly after the snow has melted and appear in the highlands until the beginning of June, the mushroom season of the food morels is between April and June.

Confusion with other mushrooms mainly occurs with the poisonous spring chlorella, whose hat, however, has no small chambers on the surface. In addition, the spring salmon grows mainly on sandy soils in the pine forest.

Morels in Naturopathy Naturopathy takes advantage of the effects of Chinese morel (Mu-Err mushroom, Auricularia judae), which can be used for many diseases of civilization. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), morel is used, for example, as a medicinal mushroom for arteriosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”). It is said to have a regulating effect on the circulatory system and lower cholesterol levels. The fungus is also said to have an anticoagulant effect, which is said to have a positive effect on blood pressure. Chinese morel can therefore be used to prevent heart attacks, strokes and circulatory disorders. In addition, Chinese morel is said to have a positive effect on the immune system by contributing to the formation of immune cells in the spleen. (sb)

Image: Meinhard Siegmundt /

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