SAN FRANCISCO—A lawsuit has been filed by the family of a woman who died after ingesting lethal tea herbs from a shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Yu-Ping Xie, 56, of San Francisco, died on March 18. She experienced arrhythmia shortly after consuming the tea and was taken to California Pacific Medical Center for resuscitation where she had been since ingesting the tea in February. The family is calling for more regulations in the industry.

Jin Deng remembers his mother becoming very ill just one hour after taking a specialty tea blend prescribed by a Chinese herbalist.

The tea leaves bought at Sun Wing Wo Trading Company, at 1105 Grant Avenue, contained the plant-based toxin Aconite, a lethal poison, the San Francisco Department of Public Health indicated. The San Francisco Health Department found traces of aconite in her urine and in the tea she was drinking. After being properly processed, aconite can be safely used to treat pain. Family Attorney Charles Kelly questioned who was manufacturing the tea and putting it on the market.

In Hong Kong, a study found that 52 cases of aconite poisoning between 2004 and 2009. The purpose of the study was to determine the causes that lead to the kind of poisoning that killed Yu-Ping Xie. According to reports, it was due to poor-quality herbs, or an error at the time it was dispensed.

The owner of Sun Wing Wo Trading Company, Yui-Wan Chan, is currently being investigated by the health department. A man was also hospitalized after consuming a tea blend made at the same store. Products consumed by Xie and another patient  have been removed from the store.

There is no antidote for Aconite poisoning. Aconite is commonly called monkshood, helmet flower, wolfsbane, “chuanwu,” “caowu,” and “fuzi” and is used in Asian herbal medicine to treat pains, bruises and other conditions. Raw Aconite roots, leaves and flowers are generally toxic, but are used only after adequate processing. Products consumed by Xie and another patient  have been removed from the store.

Written By Deanna Morgado and Parnika Goel