A Chinese health vlogger is in stable condition after biting into a poisonous plant during a live stream. According to the Telegraph, the 26-year-old social media personality, known only as Ms. Zhang, set out to demonstrate the health benefits of aloe vera by eating the raw leaves in a live video stream. Though she did not achieve her intended goal, she has provided her viewers with a lesson on the importance of being an informed consumer.
Prior to the streaming, Ms. Zhang bought two leaves of what she thought was aloe vera. The thick waxy leaves were, in fact, from the poisonous Agave americana plant.
During the live video, the Telegraph reports, she began biting into the leaves and can be heard saying, in Chinese, “yum” and “this is great.” She soon realized that something was amiss, however, complaining that the leaves tasted “bitter.” She said that her mouth felt numb and her throat like it was “on fire.”
According to the Mirror, she was three bites in when she “lost her voice.” Realizing that she was in danger, she stopped the video and took herself to the hospital where she was made aware of her mistake. She ended up with rashes and blisters and needed to have her stomach pumped.
Agave americana or aloe vera?
Agave americana, also called the century plant or American aloe, is thought to resemble the aloe vera plant. Despite the similarity, however, the plants are not related.
Although it does have culinary uses – it’s used in tequila and as a natural sweetener – Agave americana needs to be carefully prepared for consumption because of its high toxicity, an article in Tech Times reports.
— The Independent (@Independent) July 3, 2017
“The plant’s sap contains calcium oxalate crystals called raphides, which can be incredibly irritating, as well as other toxic compounds,” the article states, adding that, “the most common side effects of contact with saps of the century plant include eye damage, rash, as well as burning and itching of the skin. The symptoms often show up within 24 to 48 hours. Ingestion of the plants can also cause vomiting or diarrhea.”
The aloe vera plant is known for its many health benefits and can be ingested or used topically.
[Featured Image by Efrain Hernandez/Pixabay]