Chinese Vlogger Accidentally Poisons Herself on Livestream | Hilarity Ensues
When a Chinese vlogger accidentally poisons herself on livestream by eating a toxic plant there can only be one response – ridiculously laughing your head off. Actually, its the same response whenever ANY vlogger eats a toxic plant live on the interwebs. This is an older story from about 8 months ago – I never posted it – its been sitting on the back burner for awhile, but since I’m on vacation this week, I’m pulling out all the older material that never saw the light of day.
There is something bizarrely fascinating about watching someone poisoning themselves. Like a slow-motion train wreck. Or a dumpster fire. You just know that there will be a bad outcome but you just can’t stop watching the carnage. That’s what this video is like. Smart-alek Chinese health vlogger named Zhang bites into a big old piece of something that looks like an elephants ear, only to begin whining, crying and complaining about her mouth and throat burning. She thought she was biting into aloe vera but she was actually biting into something called Agave Americana (also called the century plant, although it typically lives 10-30 years) – a plant that is cultivated to produce tequila but is essentially inedible. The Agave Americana is sometimes called American aloe, but it has nothing to do with the aloe vera plant that people split open and rub on sunburned skin (like my daughter is doing right now – been at the beach less than 24 hours).
Judging from the total absence of any acknowledgment of the ingestion from the vlogger or her people, I say they expected her to keep munching down on that mutant sized blade of grass. Until her tongue exploded.
What was it that created the surprise and spitting pain? Not all the toxic compounds in Agave americana have been identified, so that should give you some indication of why Zhang hit the panic button after chomping on the plant during her livestream. It contains the incrediby irritating calcium oxylate raphides (microscopic daggers of crystaline oxylate) as well as some other really irritating oils in the sap. It was probably the calcium oxalate crystals that pierced the young lady’s tongue and cheek and the back of her throat. When any part of the Agave Americana plant is chewed and swallowed, the crystals stab the sensitive tissues of the tongue, gums and throat, creating the sensation of biting into ground glass. Pain, difficulty swallowing, swelling and temporary hoarseness may occur. Since the ingestion is not really lethal or harmful – just ridiculously painful, when a Chinese vlogger accidentally poisons herself on livestream by biting into a vegetable pincushion when she is expecting a nice juicy fruity treat, what else but hilarity can be expected?
Some other plants that contain calcium oxalate crystals are: Caladium, Calla Lily, Devil’s Ivy, Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane), Elephant’s Ear, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Philodendron Rhubarb and Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily).
So what do you do if you accidentally bite into an Elephant’s Ear? According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (I’m particularly fond of that Hospital and Poison Control Center – and let’s face it, kids eat all kinds of weird stuff), the trick is to wipe out the residue of the plant from the mouth and offer a cool drink or snack such as a popsicle, applesauce or yogurt. If there is swelling that prevents the child taking anything by mouth or causes difficulty breathing, go to the nearest emergency department immediately. When the juices of the plant come in contact with the skin, burning, pain and swelling may occur. Lather the exposed area repeatedly with soap and rinse with warm running water to ease the irritation.
So the next time a Chinese vlogger accidentally poisons herself on livestream, we don’t have to feel guilty about laughing at her. Happily, aside from being a really bad kisser for a few days, there shouldn’t be any long-term problems for this health vlogger. Whatever that is.