A social media vlogger has accidentally poisoned herself whilst eating what she believed to be Aloe vera. The woman, known as Ms Zhang, was recording a segment on the health benefits of the plant, when she took a bite out of what was actually an Agave americana plant and poisoned herself.
In the video, she is recorded as saying “this is great”, but shortly afterward her mouth went numb, her throat felt like it was on fire, and she was forced to go to the hospital.
After eating the plant, Ms Zhang noticed a bitter taste, according to Motherboard. After the video ended, she was taken to the hospital with burns and sores in her mouth. There, she had her stomach pumped and is now in stable condition.
The supposed health benefits of Aloe vera are actually not that clear. “There’s not enough evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for most of the purposes for which people use it,” according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Agave Americana is cultivated in Mexico and North America, and is commonly referred to as American aloe due to its resemblance to Aloe vera. They are typically used as ornamental plants, even though they are toxic.
“Agave americana has several toxic compounds, not all of which have been positively identified,” according to Cornell University’s department of animal science. “It contains the incredibly irritating calcium oxalate raphides (microscopic daggers of crystalline oxalate) as well as some other really irritating oils in the sap.”
While the video failed to prove the health benefits of Aloe vera as planned, she did demonstrate the dangers of eating plants without being entirely sure of what you’re eating.