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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter #1
How much poison Hemlock does it take to kill someone?

If it is a very small amount, will some variation of the progressive edibility test discover it in time?

If not, what procedural changes can we make to the test, to discover highly poisonous plants early?
 

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Wild Edibles Expert
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How much poison Hemlock does it take to kill someone?

If it is a very small amount, will some variation of the progressive edibility test discover it in time?

If not, what procedural changes can we make to the test, to discover highly poisonous plants early?
My god you can't be serious... forget the edibility test completely. Learn the plants. Period. One... ONE .... mouthful of the hemlock will painfully kill you. You've really got your head completely in the wrong place. Learn the plants. The edibility test will kill you. Forget that it exists.

Let me put it in other terms... what you are asking is how can you look down the barrel of a loaded gun, pull the trigger and not die. Except it is plants not a gun. The edibility test is for do or die starvation situations only. I cannot say that more strongly. It is not for testing at all. It is to keep from dying as the last possible resort. If you continue to think the edibility test is the means to discover edible foods you will be sick and you will die a painful death. I really fear for your life. You are playing Russian Roulette with loaded plants.

Asking if there are tests for toxic plants is missing the point completely. Know the toxic plants. Know the edible plants. You are dating death. Don't. I cannot stress that in stronger terms. You are assuring your death with this approach. Using the "edibility test" as a tool is suicide. DO NOT DO IT.

Is that clear? I want no ambiguity. I don't want it said I did not make it clear to you. Do not depend on the "edibility test." `You are participating in death if you depend on the "edibility test." Don't do it.
 

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Psalm 34:4
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Just to make sure everyone understands....

Please re-read Straight Razors reply.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Will you please relax. I have said hundreds of time that I am learning to identify the plants, just like you want me too.

But I also know through first hand experience that there are poisonous plants that CAN be ingested. They often kill in meal sized amounts, but have medicinal benifits or can even be good for you in small amounts.

Take the Chinese herb Mahuang. In small amounts, it boosts energy. It is used for Asthma, clears phlem and is used in many formulas where upper chest congestion and runny noses are present. But of you ate a meal sized amount, it will cause heart failure and stroke. Ditto for if you mix it with caffeine. In a mild tea however, it's actually a health tonic.

I have a number of Chinese herbs that are toxic, and even deadly in meal sized amounts,but very healthy for you in small amounts. Since this is true in these cases, with plants from a small portion of the world, it is logical to assume this is true for many other plants everywhere else in the world.

Now, the question is this, how can we safely devise a test that will start with small amounts and concentrations, VERY small amounts and concentrations, and progress up to full meal sized amount, that can be used sooner, rather than later to determine if a plant is safe to eat BEFORE WE ARE STARVING AND OUT OF FOOD! This test wold have to be simple, able to be performed in the field, with little to few tools and equipment.

The idea is to develop a way to find food, anywhere in the world, with a simple repeatable method that does not rely on many months of intensive book study and live teacher to student class time. The goal is to find new sources of food BEFORE we run out of food, are starving to death, and in an extreme emergency. Do it early to avoid the crisis in the first place.

I see no reason why it can't be done. I think the Edibility test we have now has the right idea, but is not refined enough to detect super poisonous plants, like poisonous Hemlock, before really bad things happen.

Maybe I am asking to much here, I am after all asking people to actually *Think* about the whole process. Some may not be able to see past thier narrow text book educations. Some will cling to what others have said is impossible to do. The rest of us will be able to come up with something that works.

If a Mouthful of poison Hemlock will kill, what of you made a tea from a small 1/8" X 1/8" section of leaf, and made it into an 8 OZ of tea? What kinds of effect would that have? Wold you get dizzy? Stomach ace? Head ache? Are there other plants we know of that are deadly in smaller doses? if so, how diluted do they have to be to only cause symptoms of discomfort? If we answer that, then we can set the initial dilution of our test for that,and slowly work our way up one small step at a time, say over a 2-3 week period, untill we have a full meal sized portion to eat.
 

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Mountain Critter
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If a Mouthful of poison Hemlock will kill, what of you made a tea from a small 1/8" X 1/8" section of leaf, and made it into an 8 OZ of tea? What kinds of effect would that have? Wold you get dizzy? Stomach ace? Head ache? Are there other plants we know of that are deadly in smaller doses? if so, how diluted do they have to be to only cause symptoms of discomfort? If we answer that, then we can set the initial dilution of our test for that,and slowly work our way up one small step at a time, say over a 2-3 week period, untill we have a full meal sized portion to eat.
This would vary and be different for each and every toxic plant. I don't believe you could ever come up with one "safe" formula that could be used across the board.

And all this testing really does sound like far more trouble, and also far more risk, than simply LEARNING THE PLANTS!

Which I know you have said you are doing, so I really don't understand why you keep bringing this up....
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter #6
This would vary and be different for each and every toxic plant. I don't believe you could ever come up with one "safe" formula that could be used across the board.

And all this testing really does sound like far more trouble, and also far more risk, than simply LEARNING THE PLANTS!

Which I know you have said you are doing, so I really don't understand why you keep bringing this up....
Reply]
Because I have an inquisitive mind, and need to solve puzzles.

Also, what if SHTF and you lost all your plant educational books? You have untill your food sticks run out, if you have any in the first place, to find food sources. The sooner you get working on that problem, the less likely you will have a starvation crisis later.

Or would it be better to wait until you are near death, and severely weakened so you are guaranteed to make a deadly mistake?
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter #7
This would vary and be different for each and every toxic plant. I don't believe you could ever come up with one "safe" formula that could be used across the board.

Reply]
Actually you should be able to. EVERY deadly plant is harmless at small enough doses. What we really need to do, is find a dilution that is small enough to make every one safe, and then slowly, step by step increase the amount untill a negative, but non crippling or lethal symptom appears.

I doubt a deadly plant will NOT show a negative symptom at doses far smaller than is needed to be deadly. How can we do this in the field with little to no tools?

At home, I could easily do this, by measuring the weight all the way down to milligrams (I have the scale for my Chinese herbal medicines that I make), and then slowly make less, and less diluted teas by adding progressively more to be boiled. It would probably take weeks, but if you eventually have a strong tea that has no ill effects, you could then repeat the process with small food samples. The only question that really needs to be answered is how small of a sample do we start with in the initial phase.

Bringing the process out into the field, without some sort of portable equipment is the real trick. There has to be a way to do it.
 

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Mountain Critter
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Reply]

Also, what if SHTF and you lost all your plant educational books? You have untill your food sticks run out, if you have any in the first place, to find food sources. The sooner you get working on that problem, the less likely you will have a starvation crisis later.
There are only so many plants that are going to contribute significantly to your survival, calorie-wise, in the situation you are describing. Medicinals are a whole different matter.

There are certainly not more than a person could be reasonably expected to learn and know (assuming they begin their studies before SHTF) without the continued aid of a book.

I don't take books with me when I go on extended wilderness trips where I rely on snaring and foraging for my entire food supply, and would not worry too much if I lose them, later.

The knowledge needs to be in your head.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter #9
Agreed. The Knowledge does need to be in your head.

But you can't know everything, about every location. Suppose the situation calls for a mass exodus from an area, and you find yourself somewhere that does not have any familiar plants to eat?
 

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Hemlock has been ingested "safely"

I would not recommend it as medicine and it could never be a viable source of food. However there is information out there as far as dosaging for various ailments including anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures and cancer. So it has been ingested in small amounts without causing serious illness or death. I don't know much about it but I googled it and the following link was one of the first links on the search results.

http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hemloc18.htm
 

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There are certain plants that are very widespread and edible everywhere. Learn them.

Off the top of my head, for large areas of Arizona and the southwest and likely points beyond, some very widespread and easily recognized plants are:

Prickly pear (both pads and fruit)
Nut trees, various, but walnut and oak are everywhere (though crops may be limited in some seasons)
Manzanita berries
Grapes -- leaves and fruit
Raspberries -- leaves and fruit
Wild onions -- bulbs (located everywhere, but very seasonal -- hard to find when they're not blooming)
Watercress

With the possible exception of nuts, none of these will give you many calories, though prickly pear is easy enough to harvest that it might be worth the effort, and raspberries or grapes would be a moral boost. Canyon grapes are edible though they'll make your tongue hurt. Around here you pretty much need a ladder to harvest them, too, as the elk and other critters will eat any they can reach.

In a survival situation I would be very wary of eating anything I didn't immediately recognize as food. The last thing you need to do is add poisoning to your problems. Many plants also simply lack calories or require considerable processing/effort -- you may spend more calories harvesting them than you would gain from eating them. Plus eating unfamiliar foods is a good way to get digestive upset, which is not a big deal on a normal day but could be life threatening if you're dealing with digestive upset.

Oh, and hemlock is pretty easy to recognize (and avoid.) Protip: Avoid all members of the carrot family unless they're growing in your garden and you planted them. Many are poisonous.
 

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How much poison Hemlock does it take to kill someone?

If it is a very small amount, will some variation of the progressive edibility test discover it in time?

If not, what procedural changes can we make to the test, to discover highly poisonous plants early?
All parts of the plant are toxic. 150mg will kill most people in 30-60 minutes. There is no antidote but poisoning victims can be kept alive via artificial respiration until the poison wears off. It usually takes about three days before the paralysis subsides and the victim can breathe without aid.
150mg = about 1/2 teaspoon
 

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Some toxins build up in the body and never leave. You will be safe eating a certain amount and fine until one day you are just dead. Even if it's 1/1,000,000 of the deadly dose, if you have it 1,000,000 times you will be dead. Don't mess with deadly stuff unless you will me all your worldly possessions.
 

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How much poison Hemlock does it take to kill someone?

If it is a very small amount, will some variation of the progressive edibility test discover it in time?

If not, what procedural changes can we make to the test, to discover highly poisonous plants early?
Yes, there is a variation of the test that is fool proof. Find a person like yourself and have him eat it first :thumb:
 
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