Important Health Warnings for Pregnant Women and Nursing Mothers Regarding
Nzu, Traditional Remedy for Morning Sickness
On December 31, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the
Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) issued important health
warnings about Nzu, a homeopathic product sold to combat symptoms of morning
The FDA and DSHS are warning pregnant women and nursing mothers to avoid
the product, which has been found to contain both lead and arsenic. Both
substances can lead to adverse health effects for mothers, developing fetuses
and babies who are given breast milk from women who are taking Nzu.
Audience: Consumers, Obstetrical healthcare professionals
The Texas Department of State Health Services and FDA notified healthcare
professionals and consumers, especially pregnant or breastfeeding women, to
avoid consuming a product called “Nzu”, taken as a traditional remedy for
morning sickness, because of the potential health risks from high levels of lead
and arsenic, noted on laboratory analysis by Texas DSHS.
Exposure to lead can result in a number of harmful effects, and a developing
child is particularly at risk of effects on the brain and nervous system.
Arsenic is a carcinogen, and excessive long-term exposure to it has been
associated with a range of adverse health effects, including cancers of the
urinary bladder, lung and skin.
Nzu, which is sold at African specialty stores is also called Calabash clay,
Calabar stone, Mabele, Argile and La Craie. It generally resembles balls of clay
or mud and is usually sold in small plastic bags with a handwritten label
identifying it as “Nzu” or “Salted Nzu.”
Anyone who has been ingesting the product should contact their healthcare
Any adverse events that may be related to use should be reported to the FDA's
MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program online, by phone at 1-800-332-1088,
or by returning the postage-paid FDA form 3500 by mail or fax at 1-800-FDA-0178.
For more information, read the Texas Department of State Health Services Press
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