San Francisco woman dead after drinking toxic tea bought from Chinatown

Fourth Estate Staff

San Francisco, CA, United States (4E) – One of the two people who became critically ill after drinking tea bought from a local Chinatown already died, authorities said.

The two people, who are not in any way related, purchased the same tea from the same shop and shortly thereafter, they were taken to area hospitals. The woman who died was in her 50s while the other man who fell ill from drinking the tea is said to be in his 30s. None of their identities were revealed.

The tea they bought is said to be from Sun Wing Wo Trading Company. Hours after consuming the tea, the victims fell ill and became weak. They experienced life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms and they were required to be placed in an intensive hospital care and had to have frequent resuscitations. The male victim is no longer in the hospital.

Per the investigation, a plant-based toxin called Aconite was found. Aconite is extremely toxic, the Journal of Clinical Toxicology said. It is also called helmet flower, Wolf’s bane, caowu, monkshood, and chuanwu. The plant where Aconite is found is used in Asian herbal medicine to treat pain, bruises, and others. In traditional Chinese medicine, the roots are used only after they are processed to reduce toxicity.

Consuming high doses of aconite could lead to abdominal pains, chest pains, numbness, palpitation, weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea.

After the tea poisoning incident, the herbalist was visited and was required to remove the products that the two people who fell ill consumed. The staff at Sun Wing Wo Trading Company is cooperating with the Health Department to trace the source of the toxin and ensure safety for future customers.

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