A California woman died after drinking poisonous herbal tea that she purchased from a shop in Chinatown. The herbal mix contained a plant that is generally used in Chinese natural remedies, albeit in small amounts.
Two Got Sick After Drinking the Tea, One Died
According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, a man and a woman were hospitalized after drinking an herbal tea mix meant to invigorate them. Yu-Ping Xie, the 56-year-old woman, died on Saturday after her body lost the battle with the poison. The man, whose identity was not disclosed, had a complete recovery, and was discharged from the hospital.
Authorities are now investigating the Sun Wing Wo Trading Company that provides herbal remedies for the majority of Chinatown shops. Doctors suspect that the two were poisoned by wolfbane, also known as aconite, a toxin used in Chinese remedies for centuries.
Aconite poisoning symptoms include weakness, low blood pressure, nausea, numbness, and fainting. It seems that the mix had such a strong concentration of aconite, that the two patients required resuscitation an hour after consuming it, their blood pressure levels falling to deadly rates.
Earlier this month, a representative of the San Francisco County released the details of the two poisoning, urging all individuals who have purchased herbal tea from the Chinatown province to discard it immediately.
Poison Disguised as Natural Home Remedy
Wolfsbane, aconite, monkshood, or devil’s helmet, is a popular Chinese home remedy. From pain to depression, the plant is advertised for its healing properties. However, there is a fine print that people started ignoring lately.
When aconite is used in small, purified quantities, it can help manage pain and fever. Since aspirin was invented, western medicine slowly forgot aconite, the plant remaining popular only in countries that value natural brews such as Japan and China. Incidentally, these are also the countries with the most cases of aconite poisoning per year.
For the moment, investigators are looking into the source of the intoxication. Since the two patients purchased different herbal blends, the company was prompted to stop selling all herbs that were added into the two mixes.
All San Francisco dwellers are urged to stay away from tea leaves commercialized by the Sun Wing Wo Trading Company.