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Potentially Lethal Toxin Found in San Francisco Tea

At least two people have had to be resuscitated
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2017 10:05 AM CST
Toxic Tea Poisons San Francisco Residents
Stock image   (Getty Images/julichka)

Two people had to be resuscitated and are now seriously ill in the hospital after drinking toxic tea purchased in San Francisco's Chinatown, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The tea, made from leaves purchased at the Sun Wing Wo Trading Co., was found to contain aconite, a plant-based toxin also known as wolfsbane and monkshood. Aconite has been used for thousands of years to treat pain and other maladies but must be properly prepared in order to be safe to drink. There's no antidote to aconite poisoning, which can be fatal, according to CBS San Francisco. KRON has a list of symptoms, including low blood pressure, nausea, and numbness of the face or limbs.

The two people who fell ill in San Francisco—a woman in her 50s and a man in his 30s—bought the tea on separate occasions in February and March. Within an hour of drinking the toxic tea, they became weak and began having abnormal heart rhythms that were life-threatening. The San Francisco Department of Public Health has ensured that the tea leaves are no longer for sale at Sun Wing Wo and is working with the trading company to figure out where the aconite came from. (A teen who bought tea onlne to lose weight ended up with hepatitis.)

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