Death of tea consumer shocks San Francisco's Chinatown

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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News of Yu-Ping Xie's death spread quickly in Chinatown after the 56-year-old woman drank toxic tea from the Sunwing Wo Trading Company on Grant Avenue.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A 56-year-old woman died after consuming tea she bought in San Francisco's Chinatown. She had been in critical condition since Feb.

RELATED: Woman dies after drinking toxic tea from SF's Chinatown

The woman bought the tea at Sunwing Wo Trading Company on Grant Avenue. She was the first of two customers who became very sick, very quickly.

The medicinal tea blend has made two people sick since Feb. Both became critically ill within an hour of consumption.

A man in his 30s recovered, but Yu-Ping Xie did not. She died at California Pacific Medical center over the weekend after having suffered through weakness, abnormal heart rhythms, and intensive hospital care.

News of her death spread quickly in Chinatown, where the two people bought the tea leaves.

RELATED: Two hospitalized by poison tea from San Francisco's Chinatown

"I myself even get sick eating at some of the places here," said Robert Kinann, a Chinatown merchant. "Getting sick is one thing, dying is another."

"They were going in there to seek a remedy and they thought they would get help, but they didn't," said tourist Kelly Tam. "And that's really sad."

San Francisco's Department of Public Health says the tea leaves, which have since been removed from the store's shelves, contained Aconite -- a plant-based toxin that when adequately processed, is used to treat pains and bruises.

ABC7 News was asked to leave after asking to speak with the owner of the store.

The health department says Sunwing Wo is fully cooperating with inspectors to trace the source of the toxic tea.