Mushroom consumption and poisoning prevention | Updated: 2022-04-07
Mushrooms are also known as macro fungi, which refers to fungi visible to the naked eye and collectible by hand. Ancient Chinese called those growing on trees mushrooms and those growing on the ground fungi. It is estimated that there are about 160,000 kinds of mushrooms on earth, but only about 10 percent, or 16,000 kinds, have been named. There are at least 100,000 kinds of mushrooms in China, but fewer than 10,000 are known.
Mushrooms can be seen everywhere, especially in the mountains and forests. Mushrooms are seasonal, and can grow only with a certain temperature and humidity. The peak period of mushroom growth is from June to September every year in China. The survival time of mushrooms is short, ranging from a few hours to several days.
Mushrooms can serve as food for human beings. Wild mushrooms mainly contain protein, carbohydrates, crude fiber, lipids, vitamins and mineral elements. Many of them taste delicious, such as chicken fir, Tricholoma matsutake, and chanterelle.
Mushrooms can also be used as medicinal materials. Medicinal mushrooms mainly contain polysaccharides, peptides, terpenoids and alkaloids such as Cordyceps sinensis, which is known as a high-grade tonic.
At present, ganoderma lucidum, fuling (an ingredient of traditional Chinese medicine) and other medicinal mushrooms are artificially cultivated. There are more than 700 medicinal mushrooms recorded all over the world, and 437 in China.
But some mushrooms are poisonous. People can be poisoned or even die if they eat them by mistake. Because of the various forms of wild mushrooms, it is very difficult for non-professionals to identify them only by experience and relying on the characteristics of their form, smell, color and so on.
Mushroom poisoning occurs every year all over the world due to accidental ingestion, and has become a global problem threatening human health. 
Statistics show that 576 toxic mushroom poisoning incidents were reported from 2004 to 2014 in China, resulting in 3,701 poisonings and 786 deaths, a fatality rate of 21.24 percent, ranking first among public health emergencies.
Therefore, not picking and eating wild mushrooms is the key to prevention and control of mushroom poisoning. Always buy your mushrooms in markets or eat them in restaurants.