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San Francisco woman dies after drinking toxic tea

FILE -- In this Friday, March 10, 2017, photo released by the San Francisco Department of Public Health via the Associated Press shows a sample of tea purchased by the first patient at a San Francisco herbalist. In separate incidents in February and March, a woman in her 50s and a man in his 30s became critically ill within an hour of drinking tea made from leaves supplied by the same San Francisco herbalist. A plant-based toxin, Aconite, was found in lab tests of the patients and the tea samples they provided.

A San Francisco woman who fell critically ill after drinking tea from a Chinatown herbalist has died.

In a statement, the San Francisco Department of Public Health says the tea leaves bought at Sun Wing Wo Trading Company contained the plant-based toxin Aconite.

The woman, in her 50s, became ill within an hour of drinking the tea in February. She grew weak, then had life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms that required resuscitation and intensive care.

She died while hospitalized on March 18.

A San Francisco man in his 30s had identical symptoms after drinking tea from the same herbalist in March. He recovered and was released from the hospital March 12.

Their names were not released.

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

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