Two people nearly died after drinking herbal tea purchased in San Francisco’s Chinatown that had been laced with an ingredient used in some homeopathic treatments.
The tea, purchased from Su Wing Wo Trading Co., was laced with aconite, a plant known as aconite, as well as the names wolf’s bane, monkshood, leopard’s bane, women’s bane, devil’s helmet, and queen of all poisons. The root is used in some cultures to treat facial paralysis, joint pain, inflammation, breathing and lung problems, fever, skin diseases, and certain heart ailments. However, aconite is highly toxic and must be prepared properly or else it can cause serious harm to the heart, muscles and nerves.
There is no antidote to aconite poisoning, and aconite toxicity can be fatal. Symptoms associated with aconite poisoning include low blood pressure, nausea, and numbness in the face or extremities.
The two people seriously sickened by the tea purchased the product on separate occasions in February and March. One was a woman in her 50s. The other was a man in his 30s. Both became ill within an hour of drinking the tea, suffering from weakness followed by life threatening abnormal heart rhythms. Both victims of the tainted tea needed to be resuscitated and are currently hospitalized.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health is investigating the illnesses and is working with Sun Wing Wo to determine where the aconite in the tea originated. The health department is also assuring the public that the toxic tea leaves are no longer for sale at Sun Wing Wo.
Source: USA Today