SINGAPORE: Seven cases of liver injury have been reported following the consumption of mahogany seeds, the Health Sciences Authority said on Tuesday (Dec 11).
The seeds, which come from the swietenia macrophylla or mahogany plant, are commonly known as "sky fruit" or "buah tunjuk langit" in Malay and "xiang tian guo" in Chinese.
“Mahogany seeds are used traditionally in Southeast Asian countries to help control blood sugar and high blood pressure. However, there are no clinical studies in humans supporting its effectiveness or safety,” HSA said.
Over the past three years, HSA said it has received seven local reports of liver injury suspected to be associated with the ingestion of mahogany seeds, both in raw and capsule form.
The liver injuries were of varying severity, ranging from mild liver function impairment to liver failure. A patient also sustained kidney injury while another had multiple joint aches and pain, also known as polyarthralgia.
Of the seven patients, who are in their 40s to 70s, five were hospitalised. The patients have since recovered or are recovering after they stopped taking the suspected products.
HSA said that most of the patients had underlying medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia (high blood cholesterol) and fatty liver. They were also taking other medications concurrently.
The liver injuries occurred 30 to 45 days after the consumption of mahogany seeds, except in one patient where the injury occurred six months later.
CONSUMED IN RAW AND CAPSULE FORM
The patients had consumed the mahogany seeds to control their blood sugar, blood pressure or for general well-being, HSA said.
Five of them consumed mahogany seeds in its raw form, purchased from different sources in Singapore and Malaysia. Their consumption ranged from 10 seeds in a month to 18 seeds in a day.
The remaining two patients took mahogany seed capsules intermittently or two capsules twice a day. One product was labelled as “Natural Miracle Healer”, which the patient obtained from a blog shop in Singapore, while the other was an unknown brand from Malaysia.
“Although there is no scientific data on the risk of liver injury from taking mahogany seeds, HSA advises consumers to exercise caution when considering the use of these products. HSA will continue to closely monitor the situation and update the public of any significant findings,” it said.
Those who have consumed the seeds should consult a doctor as soon as possible if they feel unwell or develop symptoms of liver injury such as nausea, loss of appetite, lethargy and dark urine, or show signs of jaundice such as their skin or whites of eyes turning yellow.