by Johanzynn Gatewood
A woman died after consuming poisonous herbal tea purchased in San Francisco’s Chinatown, public health officials there announced Monday. They’re urging people to throw away tea purchased from Sun Wing Wo Trading Company.
The woman, who was in her 50s, became “critically ill” in February after drinking tea made from leaves she purchased at the the trading company, according to a news release from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Shortly after drinking the tea, she experienced “weakness and life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms,” which required resuscitation and immediate medical attention. She remained hospitalized and died in the hospital on Saturday, according to public health officials.
In a separate incident, a man became ill after consuming tea made from a different blend of leaves purchased at the same San Francisco herbalist. The public health department announced that he recovered and was released from the hospital on March 12.
San Francisco health officials did not identify the people who became ill.
A lab test found aconite, a plant-based toxin, in the patients and the tea samples taken from the trading company. Public health officials removed the tea products consumed by the patients from the shelves of the store and are tracing the sources of contamination.
“Anyone who has purchased tea from this location should not consume it and should throw it away immediately,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, health officer for San Francisco.
“Aconite poisoning attacks the heart and can be lethal.”