Leaves of the aconite plant, a.k.a. wolfsbane, a.k.a. monkshood, a.k.a. helmet flower

A former contributor sent me an email today with a link to a most disturbing event. It appears that a tea shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown sold some herbal tea that sent two people to the hospital.

According to officials at the Department of Health “The tea leaves bought at Sun Wing Wo Trading Company contained the plant-based toxin Aconite.”  It appears that this is not an unusual blend in Asia, however correct processing is key to avoid adverse health consequences. Both people affected were treated for critical cardiac responses which could have been fatal.

As I have said many times before, herbs are medicine and need to be respected and treated as such. You need to know where your herbs are coming from and what is the correct dose for consumption. Herbs can heal on a profound level but they can also do great harm when used improperly. Once we understand the powerful medicine they contain, we can use them responsibly and effectively.

Whenever we are buying natural products, which of course include our favorite tea leaves, we need to know where they come from and who is responsible for bringing healthy leaves into our country and homes. Talk with your favorite tea vendors and ask questions that will inform you about the origins and processing of your favorite teas. Please consider going organic, as it’s so unnecessary to be consuming pesticides along with the healthiest beverage on the planet.