Zhang, a 26-year-old Chinese vlogger, nearly died live-streaming the benefits of what she thought were a harmless Aloe Vera leaves. She rushed to the hospital after accidentally consuming Agave Americana, a poisonous plant, when trying to broadcast her unusual food fetish to several hundred viewers on YouTube.
According to the local media reports, Zhang claimed the leaves were Aloe Vera – and that there was no better way to reap the plant’s benefits than by chewing the thick, fresh leaves.
In the footage of the live broadcast, Zhang can be heard saying in her local language: “This is great. Yum.” As the show progressed, she complained about the taste, saying: “Oh, that’s bitter. That is really bitter.” She lost her voice after three bites of Agave Americana and immediately rushed to the hospital, abandoning the live stream entirely.
Zhang, who is still recovering in the hospital, later claimed her mouth went numb, she felt like her throat was on fire, and she suffered from severe rashes and blisters. It is reported that the doctors had to pump her stomach to remove the poisonous substances from her body and save her life. She is reported to be in a stable condition.
Aloe Vera, the cactus-like plant with tiny thorns commonly found in kitchen gardens, prevents signs of aging, promotes hair growth, reduces inflammation, eases heartburn and acid reflux, reduces cholesterol, regulates blood sugar, and lowers the risk of cancer. Eating it raw causes no health issues, except its laxative effects at certain quantities.
Agave Americana has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and, hence, can be used to treat burns, bruises, minor cuts, injuries, skin irritation caused by insect bites, stomach inflammation, ulcers, tuberculosis, jaundice, liver disorders, high fever, menstrual problems, and syphilis.
However, the sap from Agave leaves contains toxins that can irritate skin and, if ingested, can cause swelling and throat burning. Agave Americana cannot be consumed raw as ingesting its sap leads to kidney and liver failure.
“There’s a few things we can take away from this: live-streaming is bad, eating strange plants you found on the Internet is a terrible idea, and when alternative medicine screws up, at least the hospital will still be there to save you.”