Agaric, supposed from Agaria, a town in Asia. Many species of fungi have this term, all of which arc acrid and poisonous.
-------------muscarius, Lin. Sp. Pi. 1645. The reddish mushrooms, also called bug agaric This is one of the poisonous vegetables that are indigenous in Great Britain. The pillar stalk is white, thick, and hollow; thicker towards the top; egg-shaped at its base; surrounded at its middle with a pendulous membrane, and furnished with a cap which is sometimes six inches or more in diameter; almost flat; either white, red, or crimson colour; and sometimes beset with angular, downy, white, or red warts. The "gills are white, flat, and inversely spear-shaped; the greater number extend from the rim of the cap to the stalk, the rest only half way. When this mushroom is decaying, the gills become brownish. It is found in pastures and woods.
If the juice of this mushroom is rubbed where bugs retreat in the day, it will destroy them. If infused in milk, it is destructive to flies the instant they sip it. Haller relates, that six persons of Lithuania perished at one time by eating this kind of mushroom; and that others have been driven mad by it. Two or three may be taken without danger; but more will occasion delirium. See Withering's Botanical Arrangements. Wilmer's Observations on Poisonous Vegetables. Lightfoot's Flora Scotia, vol. ii. p. 1010.
Yet, like all the agarics, it has the character of being cathartic and sudorific. In fact, nature exerts herself to throw off the poisonous matter, and thus occasions these discharges. It has, however, been given internally in cases of epilepsy and palsy from a repulsion of eruptions. The dose is from ten to thirty grains in vinegar, the usual antidote to poisonous vegetables. If any one should be found so rash to employ it, we may add that the part only just above the ground is to be selected. This is cleaned, dried, powdered, and kept in a well-closed vial. It entered as an ingredient in the well known formula of the theriaca, when it was considered as a cordial.