Burdock Root Tea Poisoning

Peter D. Bryson, MD
JAMA. 1978;240(15):1586. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290150032009.
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To the Editor.—  A clarification seems necessary concerning our article on "Burdock Root Tea Poisoning: Case Report Involving a Commercial Preparation" (239:2157, 1978).Several readers have written stating that burdock root normally does not contain any atropine-like alkaloids. They are correct. It was our purpose to describe a patient who, after ingesting a commercially prepared burdock root tea, had anti-cholineric symptoms that cleared with physostigmine salicylate treatment. The Food and Drug Administration confirmed the presence of 30 mg/g in a commercial preparation of burdock root tea. (The original article contained an error, stating there was 300 mg/g.)It could be only speculation as to how this alkaloid was mixed with this preparation; certainly this could have been a contaminant in the picking of the product. It was our intention to review this case because of the nature of its presentation and to alert health professionals that a commercially available preparation


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