Woman dies after drinking herbal tea from San Francisco medicinal shop

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- A woman who was sickened and left in critical condition last month after consuming herbal tea from a San Francisco medicinal shop in San Francisco's Chinatown has died, health authorities announced Monday.

Yu-Ping Xie, 56, of San Francisco, died Saturday at a hospital where she had been since February after drinking tea made with leaves bought at Sun Wing Wo Trading Company, located at 1105 Grant Ave., authorities said.

Health inspectors have removed the tea from shelves of the shop, located at 1105 Grant Ave, officials said.

Officials said store employees are working with the city's health department to trace the source of the toxic ingredient.

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The incidents have raised new questions about federal and local oversight of the herbal industry, which is currently not regulated by the FDA.

Investigators say the poisonous ingredient is called aconite, which is derived from the helmet flower or plant commonly called "Monkshood."

If processed correctly, experts say small doses of aconite are used to treat pains and bruises.

Within one hour of drinking the tea, both victims experienced symptoms such as irregular heartbeats, vomiting and dangerously low blood pressure.

Another man in his 30s also consumed the tea and was sickened. He was hospitalized but released on March 12, investigators said Monday.

Health officials said the two patients each purchased different blends of medicinal teas that were mixed 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, authorities said.

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