Burdock Root Tea Poisoning:  Case Report Involving a Commercial Preparation

Peter D. Bryson, MD; Arthur S. Watanabe, PharmD; Barry H. Rumack, MD; Robert C. Murphy, PhD
JAMA. 1978;239(20):2157. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280470069028.
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PLANTS are a well-known source for many of the atropine-like alkaloids. Mushrooms (Amanita muscaria), bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara), jimson weed (Datura stramonium), potato leaves, and the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) are just a few of the plants that contain these alkaloids. Ingestions of various members of this group have led to signs of anticholinergic toxicity. Although other herbal preparations are known to cause psychoactive effects, to our knowledge there have been no previous reports of the common burdock plant containing any of these toxic alkaloids or causing any symptoms.1 We present a case report of burdock root tea ingestion.

Report of a Case  A 26-year-old woman came to the emergency department complaining of blurred vision, inability to void, a dry mouth, and a history of bizarre behavior. She had previously purchased packaged burdock root tea from a local health food shop, an outlet of a national chain. She stated that


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