Sometimes, a literal taste of fame can kill a person – or in the case of a Chinese vlogger, poison her.
The Chinese social media star, who is known by viewers simply as Ms. Zhang, reportedly accidentally poisoned herself while on livestream by biting into what she thought was Aloe Vera, Telegraph reports. She was attempting to demonstrate the health benefits of the plant.
However, the 26-year-old vlogger had bought not Aloe Vera, but a similar-looking plant: the Agave Americana, from Mexico, local reports indicate. A video of the show was passed around several Chinese websites, after it became evident that Ms. Zhang had poisoned herself.
In the video, the vlogger can be heard saying “Yum” and “This is great.” Shortly, she began complaining that the plant tasted bitter and that her mouth had gone numb and her throat felt like it was “on fire.” Hospital staff later told her that she had consumed the agave plant.
Doctors reportedly found that the vlogger had broken out in rashes and blisters, and had to pump her stomach. She is now said to be in stable condition.
The Agave Americana, also called the century plant or American aloe, is mostly an ornamental plant used is tropical and subtropical regions. Despite its appearance, it is not related to Aloe Vera. The plant has culinary uses, and is in fact used to make tequila. It can also be used topically as an antiseptic or to treat inflammations, bruises, minor cuts, and skin irritation.
However, this agave can be toxic. Cornell University states, “Agave americana has several toxic compounds, not all of which have been positively identified. It contains the incrediby irritating calcium oxylate raphides (microscopic daggers of crystaline oxylate) as well as some other really irritating oils in the sap.”
Aloe Vera, on the other hand, is used in many products, including beverages, skin care products, cosmetics, ointments and so on. It is also generally grown as a decorative plant.