Cases of poisoning in Bavaria have increased - also because more people flock to nature in Corona times and collect plants for consumption. In particular, confusion of other plants with the popular wild garlic plays a major role. The emergency call in Munich registered 75 and 93 cases over the last 2 years - in the months of February to April 2021 alone, however, there were already 67 cases.
For Florian Eyer, head of the Poison Control Center and Clinical Toxicology at the Technical University of Munich, this is also related to people's urge to go outdoors during the Corona pandemic. For example, many went out with their children to look for plants in nature. But some did not have the necessary knowledge about poisonous plants, says Eyer.
For a 48-year-old man from the district of Freising, this had fatal consequences at the end of April.The man had prepared a sauce from self-gathered, supposed wild garlic. With nausea he was brought to a clinic, where he then died. An expert opinion confirmed that he had eaten a highly toxic autumn crocus. According to police, he had eaten only a few spoonfuls of the sauce because it had seemed bitter to him.
Toxicologist Eyer also sees posts and recipes on social media as another factor in the increase in plant poisoning cases. At the same time, people are cooking more often at home during the pandemic - and are now increasingly using ingredients from the wild.
The Bavarian Ministry of Health and the Munich Poison Control Center point out that colchicine as contained in the leaves, bulbs, flowers and seeds of the autumn crocus can be fatal even in small quantities. The leaves of wild garlic and meadow saffron are very similar and often grow right next to each other. That's why confusion often occurs, Eyer said. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, he said. In worse cases, consumption of the poisonous plant can also lead to multiple organ failure and be fatal - as the case of the man from the district of Freising shows.
The recommendation is therefore clear: Anyone who is not well versed should better not collect any plants for eating in nature. In case of doubt, each leaf must be reliably identified individually as wild garlic.
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