Two People Poisoned By Herbal Tea in San Francisco

Angel Arno, Staff Reporter

A California woman, Yu-Ping Xie was hospitalized after ingesting a herbal tea that contained toxins.

Later in the week an unnamed man was also poisoned after ingesting tea bought from the same place. Health authorities are pointing to a company called Sun Wing Wo Trade on Grant Avenue in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Xie died March 18th after being hospitalized in California Pacific Medical Center Pacific. Xie was 56 when she died. The other patient, 30 years old, recovered after a few days of medical attention. The man who consumed the herbal tea had bought two different blends of medicinal tea in February and March. After ingesting the tea the man was hospitalized.

Both people became very ill after drinking the tea. Medical studies showed that a plant based toxin, aconite, in tea samples that were given out by Sun Wing Wo Trade. Aconite was found mixed in the tea leaves, this is a wild plant and can also be known as a helmet flower, monkshood, and wolfsbane.

Every part of the plant, from flower to leaves, from stem to root, is poisonous to people. It was called wolfsbane as it was once used in baited meat to poison wolves.

Aconite is found in many medicinal teas, and has been part of homeopathic medicines for centuries.  But according to the British Homeopathic Association, “because the therapeu­tic dose is so close to the toxic dose, it was later deleted from both [the British and US] pharma­copoeias [books of herbal medicine].”

According to a press release from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, there is no antidote for aconite poisoning. There is symptoms that occur usually begin within a couple mins to an hour after congesting. Symptoms from the aconite are sensory abnormalities, numbness or tingling to the face, mouth, limbs, paralysis, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

CNN Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon, MD., told the network that aconite causes“Weakness and life – threatening abnormal heart rhythms; it attacks the heart and can be lethal.” He advised that if you have bought from anything from this company, seek medical attention. He further stated, “Anyone who has purchased tea from this location should not consume it and should throw it away immediately.”

Jaclyn Chasse states “herbal ingredients that come from China are often adulterated — meaning that, in this case, it was the raw herb that was not safely processed.” People who buy such tea should buy only from trusted, well-known companies.

Various kinds of street drugs, known as synthetic marijuana or “bath salts” have increasingly been found in major US cities having come directly from China. Warrior Ink has previously reported on these.