Plants have been used for medicinal purposes for pretty much forever. And they have sustained our ancestors in times when meat was scarce, becoming a vital part of our daily diets today. However, some plants pose a serious danger when ingested or touched.
Plucking a toxic berry from a bush or digging up the wrong roots can have fatal consequences, as this mother-and-son duo soon came to find out.
A 63-year-old woman named Kam Look and her 27-year-old son, Kai Chen, nearly died after accidentally eating a poisonous mushroom.
They picked the wild mushroom from a friend’s backyard in Amherst after Kam believed that it looked like the mushrooms she had eaten growing up in Malaysia.
To test the mushroom’s safety, Kam applied an ancient technique. She cooked them with ginger, and if the ginger turned black, supposedly that meant the mushroom is safe to consume.
A few hours after eating the mushrooms, they began experiencing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
Two days later, they arrived at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Massachusetts. They were then transferred to the UMass Memorial Medical Center.
“When they came in, they were both very ill and had signs of liver damage, and Kam actually had signs of kidney damage as well from the mushrooms,” said Dr. Stephanie Carreiro.
It turned out that the pair had eaten a “death cap” mushroom, one of the deadliest mushrooms on the planet.