A favorite drink among arty types and bohemians in 19th-century Europe, absinthe has a legendary status for its alcoholic strength and its supposed psychedelic properties. In years gone by, the licorice-flavored drink was closely associated with hallucinations, seizures, mental illness, psychosis, and all kinds of social problem.
Some scientific studies have thrown cold water on that idea, suggesting that these side effects are merely the result of alcoholism. However, other scientific research suggests these effects could be linked to alpha-thujone, a neuron that works on the same brain receptor responsible for a form of epilepsy.
Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of mythology surrounding this green-tinted drink, however that hasn’t stopped it from having a controversial and murky legal status in many countries.
Starfruit, aka carambola, is yet another widely eaten plant with a deadly secret. This time around it’s a neurotoxin called caramboxin. If you’re relatively fit and healthy, your body should be able to break down any reasonable level of caramboxin. However, if you have kidney problems, a glass of its juice could be enough to leave you with “star fruit intoxication”, a condition that could leave you with vomiting, numbness of limbs, decreased muscle power, twitching of muscles, confusion, and convulsions.
Ackee is a fruit enjoyed across West Africa and the Carribean, most often served along saltfish or made into an alcoholic wine. Although it might be one of Jamaica's proudest national dishes, this innocent-sounding fruit also contains the toxins hypoglycin A and B. Within just two to six hours of eating the wrong parts of this unripened fruit, you will be welcomed with a severe case of vomiting. If you’re unlucky, you’ll also have seizures, fall into a coma, and potentially even die.