One of two people hospitalized after drinking tea from a San Francisco herbalist earlier this month has passed away, health officials announced Monday. The woman's death came more than a week after she and another man became critically ill from drinking toxic tea sold at the same establishment, prompting the city's department of public health to identify the store and warn residents not to consume tea purchased there.
A 56-year-old San Francisco woman died after drinking tea made from leaves sold by the Sun Wing Wo Trading Co., an herbalist at 1105 Grant Ave. The second victim is said to be a man in his 30s who remains hospitalized after developing weakness and a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm. A plant-based toxin, Aconite, was found in lab tests of the patients and the tea samples they provided.
"The Health Department's environmental health inspectors have removed the products consumed by the two patients from the shelves there", authorities said.
Health officials were working with the proprietor of the shop to identify the source of the toxin.
Another victim, a man in his 30s, has recovered and was released from the hospital on March 12th.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the roots are used only after they are processed to reduce toxicity, according to the journal.
Investigators say the poisonous ingredient is called aconite, which is derived from the helmet flower or plant commonly called "Monkshood". "Aconite poisoning attacks the heart and can be lethal".
Anyone who purchased the ingredient should stop consuming it, health officials said.
Individuals who consumed the tea and have not had any symptoms are safe, but should not consume it anymore.