SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — 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 died on Saturday after being critically ill for almost two weeks, authorities said.
Yu-Ping Xie, a 56-year-old San Francisco resident, died at a hospital where she had been since February after drinking tea made with leaves bought at Sun Wing Wo Trading Company at 1105 Grant Ave.
On March 10, KRON4 learned that the woman who passed and another man were both poisoned after drinking herbal tea from a shop in Chinatown.
The man in his 30s recovered from the poisoning and was released from the hospital on March 12.
The tea leaves were purchased at the Sun Wing Wo Trading Company at 1105 Grant Ave.
“The Health Department’s environmental health inspectors have removed the products consumed by the two patients from the shelves there,” authorities said. “The proprietor is fully cooperating with the Health Department to trace the source of the toxin and ensure safety for future customers.”
The two patients each purchased different blends of medicinal teas that were put together for them at the shop. The teas had several ingredients, and the ingredients that were common to both tea mixtures are currently being tested.
Both victims became ill within an hour of drinking different tea blends from the shop, first experiencing weakness and then life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms that required resuscitation and intensive hospital care.
Early tests have shown that it contained aconite, a plant-based lethal poison, health department officials said.
Aconite is also called monkshood, helmet flower, wolfsbane, “chuanwu,” “caowu,” and “fuzi,” and is used as a remedy in Asian herbal medicine for bruises, pain and other conditions. Raw aconite roots are generally toxic but may used after adequate processing.
Individuals who consumed the tea and have not had any symptoms are safe, but should not consume it anymore. Anyone who experiences symptoms from the tea should call 911 or go the nearest hospital immediately, health department officials said.
Symptoms can take over within a few minutes or a couple of hours and can depend on the amount consumed. They include numbness or tingling of the face, mouth or limbs, weakness in the limbs and paralysis.
Cardiovascular abnormalities such as low blood pressure, palpitations, chest pains, and slow, fast or irregular heartbeats that can lead to sudden death can also be experienced, health department officials said.
Those affected may also experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
There is no antidote for aconite poisoning, according to health officials.
The shop’s owner is cooperating fully with health department officials as they investigate the poisonings.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Xie.