Woman Dies After Drinking Toxic Tea in SF

Yu-Ping Xie had been hospitalized for weeks
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2017 8:12 AM CDT
Woman Dies After Drinking Toxic Tea in SF
An insect lands on aconite flowers in Bucharest, Romania.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A medicinal tea apparently had the opposite effect on a San Francisco woman, who died Saturday after weeks in critical condition. Yu-Ping Xie, 56, initially fell ill in February after consuming a medicinal tea blend she'd purchased from Sun Wing Wo Trading Co. in San Francisco's Chinatown. Within an hour of the drink touching her lips, she began experiencing weakness and abnormal heart rhythms that required resuscitation, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. A man in his 30s also fell ill after drinking a different tea blend purchased from the same shop earlier this month. However, he has since recovered and was released from the hospital on March 12, per CBS San Francisco.

Health department officials believe the teas contained a toxin found in aconite, a plant commonly used in herbal medicine because of its anti-inflammatory properties. When properly processed, the plant is safe to consume. But consumption of its raw flowers and roots can lead to weakness, paralysis, chest pains, irregular heartbeats, and other cardiovascular issues. Officials say there's no way to reverse the effects of aconite poisoning. Xie had spent weeks in intensive care but was unable to recover. Various products, including the tea blend she purchased, have now been removed from the shop as officials continue to investigate with assistance from the shop owner. No other victims have been identified, per SFist. (More tea stories.)

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