Mother Warns About Seeds From ‘Suicide Trees’ After Death Of 22-Year-Old

A Chicago-area mom is speaking out to warn others after she says her 22-year-old daughter died by consuming a deadly seed the young woman had purchased online, in what may be the first of at least two related deaths in the state.

With a few clicks of her mouse, Lucia McCalip was able to order the so-called pong pong seeds from Thailand for just $5, the woman’s mother told ABC 6.

“It was slow and it was painful,” Natosha Anderson said of her daughter’s last hours after she was found on the floor of their Calumet City home two weeks ago.

Anderson said that when McCalip admitted to intentionally swallowing one of the seeds, no one, including medical personnel, knew what they were.

“The police, the paramedics, they didn’t even know. No one knew,” she said.

The toxic seeds, which originate from cerbera odollam or “suicide trees,” can be easily purchased online as decorative items. They are found across India and Southeast Asia and are used by more people to die by suicide than any other plant, New Scientist reported.

According to a study published in 2004 and cited by New Scientist, the seeds were found responsible for the deaths of more than 500 people between 1989 and 1999 in the southwest Indian state of Kerala — not only in accidental poisonings and suicides but homicides as well.

An eBay listing that had been selling pong pong seeds was recently removed, and a spokesperson for the website told The Huffington Post that they are working to update their hazardous materials policy to include the seeds.

“While Pong Pong seeds are unregulated, we have prohibited these seeds from being sold on our global marketplace out of an abundance of caution,” the spokesperson stated in an email Thursday. —> Read More