Seven cases of liver injury have been reported following the consumption of mahogany seeds or ‘Sky Fruit’, said The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in a press release on Tuesday (11 December).
The authority said that mahogany seeds are also known as Swietenia macrophylla seeds. The fruit of the mahogany seeds is commonly known as “Sky fruit”, “Buah Tunjuk Langit” (in Malay) or “向天果” (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 that it has received seven local reports of liver injury over the past three years, suspected to be associated with mahogany seeds (both in raw form and capsule form). The liver injuries reported to HSA were of varying severity, ranging from mild liver function impairment to liver failure. Other than liver injuries, a patient had kidney injury, and another had polyarthralgia (multiple joint aches and pain).
Of the seven patients who are in their 40s to 70s, five were hospitalised. The patients were reported to have recovered or were recovering after stopping the intake of the suspected products.
The authority noted that most of patients were reported to have underlying medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia (high blood cholesterol) and fatty liver, and were taking other medications concurrently. The liver injury occurred 30 to 45 days after the consumption of mahogany seeds except in one patient, where the injury occurred 6 months later.
These patients were consuming mahogany seeds for the purpose of controlling blood sugar, blood pressure or for general well-being. Five of them consumed mahogany seeds in its raw form, purchased from different sources in Singapore and Malaysia. Their intake ranged from 10 seeds in a month to 18 seeds in a day. The remaining two patients took the capsules intermittently or 2 capsules twice daily.
The authority said that one product was labelled as ‘Natural Miracle Healer’ which the patient obtained from a blog shop in Singapore and 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 also advised consumers to:
- Be aware that local cases of liver injury have been reported in some individuals following the consumption of mahogany seeds (both in the raw form and capsule form).
- Consult a doctor as soon as possible if you feel unwell or develop any of the following signs and symptoms of liver injury when taking mahogany seeds: nausea (feel like vomiting), loss of appetite, lethargy, dark urine, the whites of the eyes have turned yellow or the skin is yellow (jaundice).
- Consult your doctor if you would like to try new or complementary remedy
which claims to alleviate certain medical conditions, especially for chronic
diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.