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Posted August 25, 2022
White Mulberry Leaf Caused Death of Congressman's Wife, Coroner Reports
The death of Lori McClintock, 61-year-old wife of California congressman Tom McClintock, was caused by dehydration from gastroenteritis caused by “adverse effects of white mulberry leaf ingestion,” according to a coroner's report recently obtained by Kaiser Health News.
White mulberry leaf is sold as a powder in supplements, or consumed as a tea, and if often promoted for lowering blood sugar and treating diabetes, although the evidence for this use is mixed. (See ConsumerLab's article about supplements and foods for lowering blood sugar for more details). The herb is also promoted for lowering cholesterol, improving metabolism, and for weight loss. Although its generally been found to be safe in clinical trials, adverse gastrointestinal effects such as nausea, gas, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea have been reported (Thaipitakwong, Complement Ther Med 2020; Lown, PLoS One 2017).
Mrs. McClintock died on December 20, 2021, after her husband found her unresponsive at home. The day before her death, she had complained of stomach pain, according to the report. The autopsy revealed a partially intact white mulberry leaf in her stomach, although it's not known if she consumed white mulberry tea, consumed dry or fresh mulberry leaves, or had taken a supplement.
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