Nzu Morning Sickness Remedy Linked to Health Risks

Texas health officials and the FDA are warning consumers and healthcare professionals that a traditional West African remedy for morning sickness, known as Nzu, has been found to contain high levels of lead and arsenic, which could cause lead poisoning in unborn children and cancer.

On December 23, the Texas Department of State Health Services issued a warning about the safety of Nzu morning sickness remedy, advising all consumers, but particularly pregnant or breastfeeding women, to avoid taking the traditional remedy often used by Nigerian, West African and Asian women to mitigate the effects of morning sickness. Texas health regulators issued the warning after analyzing samples of Nzu from African specialty stores in Dallas and Houston.

Nzu is also known as Calabash chalk, Calabar stone, La Craie, Argile and Mabele. It usually resembles brownish balls (which are sometimes covered in white dust and sold as Salted Nzu), blocks, pellets or powders. It is generally sold loose, with no specific brand name or manufacturer’s information or labeling.

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Health officials warned that the high amount of lead and arsenic can cause a number of health problems. High levels of lead can damage the developing brain of an unborn or young child, causing neurological problems, learning disabilities and lowered intelligence, as well as seizures and death in some cases. Arsenic is a carcinogen that can cause lung, bladder and skin cancer and is considered poisonous.

The high levels of lead and arsenic are not unique to Nzu sold in Texas. Nzu has come under fire from health departments in a number of countries due to the lead and arsenic levels. A similar warning was issued by Health Canada in October 2007 and by health officials in the U.K. in 2002. U.K. health officials said that women taking 60g a day of the most contaminated Nzu examined would be exceeding safe daily lead intake by 4.5 times.

Texas officials recommend that anyone who has been taking Nzu should contact their health care provider. Investigators are still trying to determine the source of the Nzu found in Texas.

13 Comments

  • SharonSeptember 27, 2023 at 11:55 am

    I am seriously addicted to nzu. I cannot live without it. I am not pregnant but I found myself eating it all the time. I could chew 5 round piece daily and whenever I tend to stop for a month or 2, I still crave for it. I need help.

  • AdaMarch 30, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    Please I never knew nzu was additive until I started taking it. Am not pregnant but I crave for it. My seller has refused to sell to me just to make me stop but I buy elsewhere. At work, I eat it to the point it stains my lipstick with white. Please I need serious help. Now I know how cocaine addicts feel.

  • HannahMarch 25, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Am also addicted nzu that i cosumed 15pcs of it everyday pls tell me how can ibstop it taking it, am also having problem on my menstrual cycle too

  • ChiomaNovember 4, 2021 at 11:42 am

    @ Ezi nzu can't prevent fibroid, rather it will make it grow more bigger nzu nourishes fibroid the way it does to unborn babies.

  • EzinneAugust 20, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Please does this nzu cause fibroid?

  • NgoziJuly 19, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    I’m also an Nzu addict. I’ve disciplined myself from taking Nzu of late by looking at it like dirty sand. If we can’t eat sand then why are we eating Nzu that we are not sure where it is gotten from or how hygienic it is? This mindset is helping me with my addiction.

  • DavidsonJuly 12, 2021 at 7:13 am

    I need serious help... I don’t know how to stop, I’m so addicted to this food that I can’t even help it... I take it everyday and when I want to poop, it hurts really bad but I still won’t stop,

  • NifemiMarch 7, 2021 at 7:38 am

    Can nzu cause abdominal pains I stopped last 2 years but I started taking it last month again and I do feel pains every morning for about a week now

  • BidemiAugust 17, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Me too, Am so addicted to it. I usually tell my Co workers that nzu is my cigarette am not pregnant but I just love it. I don't know wat to do I wish they could create something edible and healthy that tastes exactly like Nzu. Well with what I just read am definitely gonna stop. God help Mr please

  • faithApril 13, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    pls i need help on how to stop taking this nzu.some times i dont feel like eating any other time aprt from it.Ive try to stop but if i stop i will latter go 4it. A friend told me that is good during mensturation since tht time i ve been addicted to it

  • EziJanuary 9, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    I heard a doctor on tv say nzu prevents fibroid. Since then I decided to start it.

  • daintyOctober 31, 2014 at 10:44 am

    am scared ooooo cos i really love dis i took it alot wen pregnant and still loving it after birth wat will i do?

  • UCHE EVIDENCEOctober 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I will want to advise all of us addicted to this nzu habit to decide to discipline ourselves just like we will talk to our children or younger ones and expect them to hear, understand and obey us. Let's value our health n life above unhealthy habits. It is difficult but we have to try. I am also involved.

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