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Woman dies after drinking poisonous tea from Chinatown shop

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Tea purchased by the first patient who was poisoned by Aconite earlier this year. (Courtesy San Francisco Health Department)
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One of two people hospitalized after drinking herbal tea laced with Aconite, a lethal poison, that was purchased from a Chinatown shop has died, San Francisco health officials said Monday.

The victim, a woman in her 50s, died Saturday.

In separate incidents in February and March, the woman and a man in his 30s became critically ill within an hour of drinking tea made from leaves purchased at the Sun Wing Wo Trading Company, located at 1105 Grant Ave., health officials said.

Both the man and woman each developed weakness followed by life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms, and required resuscitation and intensive hospital care after they drank the tea, according to health officials.

Lab tests confirmed the presence of a plant-based toxin, Aconite, in the patients and tea samples they provided, the San Francisco Examiner previously reported.

SEE RELATED: 2 SF residents hospitalized after drinking herbal tea from Chinatown shop

The Health Department’s environmental health inspectors have since removed from the Chinatown shop the products that the two patients consumed. Health officials said the proprietor is cooperating with the Health Department to trace the source of the toxin.

“The two patients each purchased different blends of medicinal teas that were put together for them at the shop,” health officials said in a statement. “The teas had several ingredients, and the ingredients that were common to both tea mixtures are currently being tested.”

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