Puffer is a small fish the size of a palm that can swim its tail forward. Instead of scales, she has a thin, elastic skin. If you frighten the puffer, it will instantly swell and take the form of a ball, spiked with sharp spikes. In this state, it is three times its original size. This is due to the water that the fish sharply absorbs into itself. Deadly poison – tetrodotoxin – is contained in milk, caviar, on the genitals, skin and liver puffer. This substance has a nerve agent.
It is about 1200 times more dangerous than cyanide potassium. The lethal dose for a person is only one milligram of tetrodotoxin. In one fish, this substance is enough to kill forty people. And there is still no effective antidote. In microscopic portions, poison puffer fish is used as a means of preventing age-related diseases and as a cure for prostate diseases.
Here is one of the ancient recipes for the preparation of a healing drink based on pufferfish – the poisonous fins of the fish are first roasted until charring, and then for two minutes lowered in sake. They say that intoxication from this infusion is very specific and resembles a narcotic dope with accompanying hallucinations and exacerbation of all senses.
By the way, cooked in this way sake is mandatory for customers who want to try puffer fish. It is believed that this ritual gives a small, but still a chance to survive in case of poisoning.
The most famous death from puffer fish happened in 1975. The legendary actor of the Kabuki Mitsugoro Bando Eighth, who was called a “living national treasure,” died of paralysis after eating a fungus liver at a restaurant in Kyoto. This was his fourth attempt to taste a dangerous dish.