Nzu natural substance commonly consumed in west Africa, particularly in Igboland, and known in English as “Calabash chalk” or “Calabar stone.”
Nzu is a naturally occurring mixture of fossilized seashells that develops in areas like mining pits or is synthesized artificially by combining clay, sand, wood ash, and salt. The final appearance is either powder- or block-molded, and is either white or ash in color.
Nzu is most popular in Nigeria, particularly among the Igbo ethnicity. It was previously employed for some conventional practices. A guest is given white chalk to touch and rub on his wrist as a token of the host’s “good heart” to indicate that he is welcome in the home.
Nzu is also seen to represent knowledge by the Igbo. It was used to mark “Purity and Holiness” on the floor with lines known as “Oguama.” A guy can only demonstrate his holiness through Oguama. Additionally, each elder draws eight lines on the white chalk before each meeting to symbolize sinlessness.
As time went on, people started eating Nzu in addition to using them in ancient rituals. Apart from the pleasure it provides, many Nzu consumers frequently attribute their use to addiction even when they are genuinely unsure of their motivations. People who are tribally oriented frequently engage in this practice.
Is Calabash Chalk good for pregnant woman?
The substance known as calabash chalk is a form of clay. For medicinal purposes, calabash chalk is eaten by some people, most commonly pregnant women. However, calabash chalk includes potentially harmful heavy elements such as arsenic and lead in its composition.
Calabash chalk is used for morning sickness, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and skin care despite major safety concerns; nevertheless, there is no clear scientific evidence to support these claims.
Does it work?
There is not enough trustworthy information available to determine how calabash chalk could function effectively. However, calabash chalk has been shown to contain lead as well as other heavy elements. Heavy metals can have major negative impacts on both children and adults if they are consumed.
Health benefits of eating Nzu (calabash chalk)
To tell you the truth, there is a paucity of knowledge regarding the positive effects that Nzu has on one’s health (calabash chalk). However, the only three health benefits of calabash chalk that have been verified by medical science are as follows:
Treatment for nausea and vomiting in the morning
The use of nzu or calabash chalk has been shown to be effective in reducing morning sickness, particularly in women who are pregnant. The taste of the chalk prevents nausea from occurring.
However, keep this in mind. Morning sickness during pregnancy is completely harmless to both the mother and her unborn child. There are various treatments for morning sickness that can be used during pregnancy in addition to Nzu, which can help alleviate morning sickness.
It provides the body with a few essential nutrients.
When you have a craving for calabash chalk, it may be a sign that your body does not have enough iron or calcium. This has been suggested by study in the medical field. During pregnancy, the majority of women typically do not get enough of certain nutrients. Therefore, one of the potential health benefits of Nzu is that it supplies the body with essential nutrients.
Now, pay attention to this, deficiencies in iron or calcium are not considered to be an emergency situation in medicine. In the long run, it might be harmful to your health, but there are a lot of alternative ways to gain calcium and iron if you are lacking in those nutrients. Studies conducted by scientists have revealed that calabash chalk, in general, is not a significant source of the minerals and nutrients that the body needs.
It cleanses the toxins out of the body
According to certain studies, Nzu may assist the body in ridding itself of potentially dangerous pollutants. It is asserted that they prevent the body from taking in pollutants, which would be beneficial. Shailene Woodley, an actress from Hollywood, provided support for their claims. backed up those statements by adding that she learned about eating clay from an African taxi driver, and that she has found that doing so to be beneficial to her health.
In addition, Dr. David L. Katz, a nutritionist at Yale University and the founder of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University, indicated in an interview with ABC News that clay possesses cleansing capabilities. The interview was conducted by ABC News. According to him, the fact that clay has a binding function makes it a candidate for the absorption of toxic substances.
Health Effect of Nzu (calabash chalk) In The body
It causes problems for the digestive system
When geophagic elements such as calabash chalk are swallowed and enter the digestive system, the individual may experience negative impacts as a result.
Implications for the Blood
Consuming calabash has been linked to a number of health hazards, one of which is an impact on blood quality, according to a number of studies.
The usual concentration of hemoglobin, the number of red blood cells, and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate in the body are all altered as a result of it.
The South African health publication Health-e conducted interviews with a number of women who admitted to regularly consuming clay. They came to the conclusion that the need to eat soil, which is experienced by many people, is a sort of stress addiction.
Many women have said that they began eating soil while they were teenagers, while others began when they were pregnant. Some ladies are so dependent on eating clay that they are unable to break the habit because they believe that their diet is lacking something important if it does not contain clay. Therefore, the addiction could be a destructive habit that leads to the risks associated with consuming Nzu, which were discussed earlier.
Can Nzu (calabash chalk) lead to miscarriage?
There is a chance. Possibly, according to a medical investigation on the toxicity of calabash chalk (Nzu) in pregnant Wistar Rats by Jonah Sydney Aprioku and Ezinne Margaret Ogwo-Ude.
They divided 24 pregnant albino wistar rats into three groups of eight each for their experiment. Following that, one group received 400 mg/kg of calabash chalk by mouth, another received 800 mg/kg, and the final group did not receive any calabash chalk (control group). Throughout their 20-day gestation, they received calabash chalk.
According to their findings, the majority of the rats fed calabash chalk had miscarriage, abortion, and stillbirth. They came to the conclusion that Nzu, or calabash chalk, is bad for pregnant women’s health.
If you ask, “Is eating Nzu bad for me?,” you will likely receive the response, “Yes, it might be.”
You have gained new knowledge regarding the advantages of consuming Nzu as well as the potential risks associated with doing so.
You should be aware that talking to your doctor will allow you to receive all the advantages of consuming nzu. In point of fact, Dr. Mba Sunday, an obstetrician and gynecologist at the Enugu State University Teaching hospital, recommended that pregnant women visit their doctor regarding their cravings for Nzu because this illness, known as pica syndrome, is associated with cravings for unusual foods. If the doctor finds that you are deficient in minerals and nutrients, he will advise you to eat foods that will refill it or take supplements.