Date
21 November 2018
The Centre for Health Protection warned that consumption of large amounts of ginkgo seeds could lead to loss of consciousness or even death. Photo: HKEJ
The Centre for Health Protection warned that consumption of large amounts of ginkgo seeds could lead to loss of consciousness or even death. Photo: HKEJ

CHP warns of poisoning from ginkgo seed consumption

The Department of Health’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) is looking into the case of a woman who fell ill after eating dozens of ginkgo seeds in one go over the weekend, hk01.com reports.

The 38-year-old woman bought some 50 to 60 fried ginkgo seeds from a street hawker in Prince Edward on Saturday, the CHP said.

About one and a half hours after consuming all of the seeds, she started suffering from dizziness, nausea, tremors, headache and abdominal pain.

She was admitted to United Christian Hospital on Sunday and was discharged after treatment on the same day, the CHP said, adding that the patient has been in a stable condition all along.

In a statement on Monday, a spokesman for the CHP said natural toxins are present in a wide variety of plants, some of which are commonly consumed as food, including ginkgo seeds, which contain toxins that are mainly neurotoxic or affecting the nerve tissues.

Vomiting, irritability and tonic or clonic convulsions are typical symptoms of poisoning from ginkgo seed consumption. Such symptoms usually begin one to 12 hours after ingestion, the spokesman said.

Loss of consciousness or even death may occur following consumption of large amounts of ginkgo seeds, he said.

It has been reported that ingestion of 10 to 50 cooked ginkgo seeds at one time can cause acute poisoning among humans. Unripe and uncooked ginkgo seeds are more toxic, although their toxicity is reduced after cooking, the spokesman added.

The CHP said the public should not consume raw ginkgo seeds or should limit their intake. Children, elderly people and those with poor health conditions are particularly susceptible.

If symptoms of poisoning develop, they should immediately consult medical professionals for treatment, it added.

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TL/JC/CG

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