Two people critically ill after drinking toxic tea

Two people are critically sick after drinking tea from the same Chinatown herbalist.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health said Friday that the tea leaves bought at Sun Wing Wo Trading Co. contained the plant-based toxin Aconite.

Health officials say a man in his 50s last month and a woman in her 30s this month became critically ill within an hour of drinking the tea, and both remain hospitalized.

Each person grew weak, then had life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms that required resuscitation and intensive care.

Aconite, also known as monkshood, helmet flower and wolfsbane, is used in Asian herbal medicines. But it must be processed properly to be safe.


Health officials are working to find the original source of the tea leaves, and they are warning others to stop consuming it.