The mystery pills swallowed by 12 primary school children yesterday were a harmless herbal remedy, toxicology results have concluded.
A mass poisoning scare was sparked early morning after the youngsters swallowed the unidentified pills which were found by a 6-year-old on her way to school.
The children - all aged 7 and 8 from Northcote School in Christchurch - were rushed to the city's hospital about 10am after ingesting the "unknown pills.''
Tests by chemists and Customs experts were unable to confirm what the tiny pills were. But now, toxicology results have shown them to be harmless, with no side or long-term effects.
"We tested a tablet and it has shown to be consistent with a herbal remedy containing geranium extract,'' a hospital spokeswoman said.
The pills were believed to have been a "fat burner.''
The kids, who were all assessed and "appeared well'' after four hours under precautionary observation, were discharged.
Principal Neil Baker breathed a sigh of relief at hearing the news. "It's been a really good learning curve from our point of view.''
Mr Baker said the pupils had tried the pills on school grounds before classes started at 9am.
The 6-year-old girl had found the plain pills in an unlabelled, screw-lid container near the school grounds on Tuckers Rd, Redwood.
Once she arrived in the playground, she gave the container to her 8-year-old sister.
Twelve boys and girls, from two classrooms, swallowed the tablets - but some children spat them out, Mr Baker said.
Mr Baker said the children would be spoken to, to find out out more about what happened.
He stressed they would not be punished, but a school assembly might be held to warn of the dangers in taking unknown pills.
"The message here is: 'If you don't know, don't take','' Mr Baker said.