Many of our ancestors died from eating poisonous plants so we didn't have to.
Still, even in this age of information, some lessons get lost, and popular Chinese health vlogger Zhang nearly lost her life after eating a poisonous plant. The jarring incident was witnessed by viewers on a live-stream Zhang titled "Aloe Vera Feast."
Zhang apparently thought she was eating aloe vera and delivering an informational video on its health and beauty benefits. However, what she had in her hands and mouth was, according to the Shanghaiist, actually agave americana, a plant native to Mexico and the southwest United States and only edible to humans after careful preparation.
The Telegraph reported that at the start of the video, Zhang remarks "yum" and "this is great," but quickly discovers that the plant is in fact quite bitter. Then her mouth becomes numb and she says that her throat feels as if it is "on fire."
She reportedly broke out into a rash with severe blisters and was rushed to the hospital to have her stomach pumped.
According to Cornell University's college of agriculture and life science, agave americana is toxic to humans. Aloe vera itself is not and is popular for sunburns and can also be incorporated safely into recipes. There are similarities between the plants as they are from the same family, but one comes with a danger warning if not cooked properly.
Zhang is now reportedly in stable condition and returning to health. On the bright side of this scary story, she's taught the world a valuable lesson by example: We'll never mistake agave americana for aloe vera. Ever.
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