If you plan to augment your food supply with foraged edibles, learn how to differentiate between plants and berries that are safe to eat and common poisonous plants in your garden and in the wild. (h/t to PreppersWill.com)
Here is a list edible plants with poisonous parts you need to avoid, especially when SHTF and you don't have access to emergency medical services.
Toxic compounds found in a lot of common poisonous plants can be divided into four basic modes of action:
Plant poisons belong to the following chemical categories, which have their own mode of action and antidotes.
A lot of organic acids have toxic effects. For example, oxalic acid can cause kidney failure. Tannic acid, the toxic component of acorns, also has the same negative effects.
Alkaloids are very common and they include familiar compounds like caffeine, codeine and nicotine. Alkaloids affect your nervous system and they can produce either acute or chronic reactions.
Alkaloid-bearing plants include locoweed, night-shade, poison hemlock and tobacco.
Glycosides are non-toxic crystalline compounds. When enzymes in your body break down glycosides, they yield toxic compounds.
Cyanogenetic glycosides are the most common type and they break down to release hydrocyanic acid, a cyanide-bearing poison that causes cellular asphyxiation, or the inadequate transport of oxygen in body tissue.
Resins, oils and acrid juices
These are complex materials that can irritate the skin or your nervous system. Most kinds of resins, oils and acrid juices appear as a white, milky sap.
Milkweed stems and leaves contain a toxic milky resin. Additionally, the milky juice of euphorbias (spurges), like poinsettias, are toxic.
Water hemlock contains cicutoxin, a resinoid that is considered the most deadly plant toxin in America.
When foraging in the wild or in your own backyard, here are some tips on avoiding poisonous plants:
If you are poisoned, seek medical aid immediately and bring a sample of the plant that may have caused it. Make sure to take the entire plant -- the roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruit -- not just the part you have eaten. A trained botanist or poison control specialist can use plant parts for proper identification and selection of an antidote.
If you don't have access to medical aid, try to identify the plant and use a reliable medical manual for treatment and antidotes. Base the treatment on the general type of poison.
Brush up on edible plants in your area and forage with caution so you don't accidentally harvest poisonous plants. Learn more about safe foraging at HomeGardeningNews.com.