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October 12, 2009

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Herb tonic leaves man in coma

A 63-YEAR-OLD man was in critical condition yesterday at Changhai Hospital after drinking an alcoholic herb tonic designed to ease his knee pain.
The man, surnamed Wang, has not regained consciousness after his stomach was pumped, doctors said.
He began sweating and became incontinent before falling unconscious an hour after drinking the mixture, brought by friends from Anhui Province.
Doctors said they had not yet identified the poison, but a witness told Shanghai Daily yesterday that he saw roots and poppy seeds in the tonic.
Dr Wang Guisong from Renji Hospital said some folk remedies may contain unknown harmful ingredients.
"Poppy seeds contain morphine, which is a painkiller," he said.
"Some folk prescriptions may contain them but they can be fatal if taken in large amounts, and stop people breathing. Long-term low doses are also addictive."


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