One person has suffered a heart attack, two others are in intensive care and 18 people have visited a hospital after toxic contamination from home-brewed poppy tea.
Victorian health officials have issued a warning against home brewing poppy tea after the hospitalizations.
In addition to the heart attack and intensive care, others have suffered from tachycardia, hypertension, seizures, and acute kidney injury.
Meanwhile, officials in NSW revealed that at least eight people in the state were hospitalized with severe poisoning shortly after ingestion.
Their symptoms included seizures, severe muscle pain, severe muscle spasms, cramps, stiffness, or abnormal movements.
Victorian health officials have issued a warning against brewing poppy tea at home after hospitalizations
It is thought that there is a contaminant in supermarket poppy seeds that causes the reactions.
NSW Poisons Information Center Medical Director Darren Roberts said consuming large amounts of this chemical in poppy seeds can be dangerous.
“We urge anyone who has consumed large amounts of poppy seeds, for example as a drink, and who is experiencing unusual and serious symptoms to seek emergency medical care by visiting the nearest emergency department,” said Mr Roberts.
Those who reported to the hospital say they used between 120 grams and a kilogram of seeds to make their poppy tea.
Officials said the tea’s unusual brown color is an indication it could be toxic.
Another telltale sign is that the brewed tea is bitter when you taste it.
Officials said the tea’s unusual brown color is an indication it could be toxic. Another telltale sign is that the brewed tea is bitter when you taste it
Poppy seed tea is made by steeping large amounts of the seeds to remove an opioid alkaloid called thebain.
However, it is thought that some of the poppy seeds currently available may have a higher than normal concentration of the chemical.
This suggests that regular consumers of home-brewed poppy tea may not be soaking the poisonous batch of seeds long enough.
Toxic effects have not been reported with the consumption of smaller amounts of seeds below 120 grams.
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