Aconite Contained In Herbal Tea Caused Two People Critically Sick In San Francisco

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Mar 16, 2017 01:37 PM EDT

Aconite is being used in Asian herbal medicines, but it's highly poisonous when not processed properly.
(Photo : China Photos/Getty Images)

An herbal tea caused two people hospitalized in San Francisco. Medical practitioners said that a man in February and a woman this month suffered from critical condition within an hour of drinking the tea.

The tea leaves were bought from Sun Wing Wo Trading Company at 1105 Grant Ave, Mail Online reported. It contained the plant-based toxin aconite, which turned out to be poisonous when not processed properly, the city's Department of Public Health said.

The patients became weak then experienced life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms in which resuscitation and intensive care are required. Aconite is also known as monkshood, helmet flower, and wolfsbane, and is utilized in Asian herbal medicines for the past million years. It is, likewise, used to heal bruises, as pain relievers and to cure other conditions as well.

However, the leaves must be processed in an appropriate manner in order to be safe. Health officials are tracing the original source of the product, and they are giving warning to others to stop sipping it.

"Anyone who has purchased tea from this location should not consume it and should throw it away immediately," Dr. Tomas Aragon, health officer of the city told SF Gate. "Aconite poisoning attacks the heart and can be lethal." The tea leaves were already taken out from the shelves as per the news outlet.

Aconite poisoned tea when consumed may cause numbness in the mouth, face or limbs. Other symptoms are chest pain, palpitations, or irregular heartbeats, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. People who drink the tea leaves and experience the following must immediately seek medical attention.

In addition, people who sipped the tea but didn't suffer any symptoms are now safe. Even so, they should not drink it anymore, health officials said. The plant’s fresh flowers are highly poisonous and deadly, but they can be consumed safely once processed correctly. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for aconite intoxication.

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