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Newborns Commonly Given Dietary Supplements And Teas Linked To Seizures

About 9% of infants are given dietary botanical supplements or teas as young as 1 month old, prompting government researchers to warn physicians to look for side effects and other health risks.

Supplement use is common. Parents use them to help with fussiness, digestion, colic, and relaxation. Parents like them because there’s no prescription required, they’re traditional to many cultures, and they’re marketed as “natural.”

But, caution the authors of a paper that appeared in the journal Pediatrics, such supplements’ purity and potency are unregulated, they can interact with prescription medicines, they may contain heavy metals or other contaminants, and they may not adapt well to a newborn’s metabolism and body weight.

Supplement use is also common as a cause of emergency room visits. And they’re linked to seizures and death.

Researchers from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, a longitudinal survey of 2,653 women studied from late pregnancy through the first year of the child’s life. The sample was drawn from a nationally distributed consumer opinion panel of healthy adult mothers with healthy term or near-term infants.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Tea Brewed From Angel’s Trumpet Causing Hospitalizations In Kids

Brugmansia_lg.jpgToxicity reports are re-emerging in southern California this week after a dozen hospitalizations of kids using teas made from a fragrant flowering plant called Angel’s Trumpet.

A tea made from the plant is used to produce hallucinations, but they can progress to extremely unpleasant experiences. Moreover, Angel’s Trumpet can be deadly, accelerating the heart rate and causing fatal cardiac rhythmic disturbances and bronchoconstriction that can trigger asthma attacks in sensitive individuals. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*

Poppy Tea Claims Another Life

Papaver somniferum.jpgThe Boulder County coroner announced today that the July death of a Boulder teen was indeed due to opioid intoxication from preparation of a poppy pod tea.

Jeffrey Joseph Bohan, 19, of Boulder, was found dead in his friend’s Boulder home about 6 p.m. July 21 after drinking poppy-pod tea the night before with his brother, according to Boulder police.

Investigators suspected the Fairview High graduate, who was going to Colorado State University, died from the psychoactive tea, which is brewed from the plant that produces opium. But they couldn’t be sure until the Coroner’s Office confirmed Monday that Bohan’s cause of death was morphine overdose, and his manner of death was accident.

Here is also coverage from The Boulder Daily Camera.

This marks the second death in Boulder from young adults mixing up decoctions of seeds or pods from the poppy, Papaver somniferum. We reported in March on the death of CU-Boulder student, Alex McGuiggan, in March.

In a subsequent post, we expanded on a commenter’s story of his own efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of poppy seed tea following the death of his own son. Commenter Tom’s site can be viewed at Poppy Seed Tea Can Kill You (

Extracts from poppy pods can contain up to 10% morphine and 1-5% codeine together with several other benzomorphan compounds. Seeds themselves are intrinsically devoid of morphine but the drug can remain on the seeds in reasonable quantities simply from their processing. The Santa Clara County crime laboratory investigating the death of Tom’s son determined that a tea made with the same seeds he used contained 259 µg/mL of morphine.

Depending on the starting material, however, the extract may also contain thebaine, a natural intermediate used for semi-synthetic opioid synthesis that causes intense nausea, vomiting, and even convulsions.

*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*

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