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September 19, 1977

Medical News

JAMA. 1977;238(12):1233-1245. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280130015001

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First US report connecting death to popular Chicano, Indian herbal tea  A tea popular with Chicanos and some Native American Indian tribes—especially those in the Southwest— is toxic, says Ryan Huxtable, PhD, a pharmacologist at the University of Arizona Health Science Center. A MEDICAL NEWS survey has shown the tea can be purchased even in far northern cities such as Chicago.Large amounts of the tea frequently are prescribed by herbalists and shamans in those cultures for common ailments, such as sore throats. Ingesting large quantities can cause severe liver damage and lead to death, especially when the folk remedy is given to children, claims Dr Huxtable. He adds that when the tea is drunk in smaller doses but habitually, it may be carcinogenic, can damage the endothelial lining, and ultimately can cause pulmonary obstruction and cor pulmonale.Called "Gordolobos," the tea also goes by the common names of