Tejocote Supplements Sold Online at Amazon, Etsy May Contain Fatal Poison: FDA

One of the recalled products
One of the recalled productsPhoto: FDA

Key Takeaways

  • Tejocote weight-loss supplements might contain toxic yellow oleander, the FDA warns

  • Nine supplements tested contained yellow oleander instead of tejocote

  • Yellow oleander can be potentially fatal if ingested, the FDA says

FRIDAY, Jan. 5, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Tejocote weight-loss supplements sold online through Amazon or Etsy could contain a highly toxic substance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning.

FDA tests revealed that capsules labeled as tejocote instead contained yellow oleander, a poisonous plant native to Mexico and Central America.

The FDA found yellow oleander in nine different products labeled as tejocote, the agency said. Those products were purchased through Amazon, Etsy and online natural food or supplement retailers.

According to the FDA warning, the adulterated products included Alipotec Tejocote Root, Nutraholics ELV Tejocote Root, ELV Nutraholics Mexican Tejocote Root, ELVPOTEC Tejocote Root, Science of Alpha Mexican Tejocote Root, Niwali Raiz de Tejocote, Alipotec Tejocote Root, Tejocotex and ELV Alipotec Raiz de Tejocote, the FDA said.

“Ingestion of yellow oleander can cause neurologic, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular adverse health effects that may be severe, or even fatal,” the FDA said in its official warning. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, abdominal pain and heart rhythm problems, the agency noted.

Tejocote, also known as Mexican hawthorn root, has been promoted through social media for weight loss, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Concerns about the supplement arose in September 2022 after a 23-month-old New Jersey toddler developed nausea, vomiting, slowed heart rate and low blood pressure after getting into the mom’s tejocote capsules, according to a CDC report issued in September 2023.

The New Jersey Poison Information and Education System subsequently purchased 10 different tejocote products online, and found that nine of the 10 contained yellow oleander, the CDC report said.

The FDA says it is concerned that there are more products touted as tejocote that instead contain yellow oleander.

Tejocote also is sold under other names, including Crataegus mexicana, Raiz de Tejocote, and Mexican Hawthorn, the FDA said.

More information

The University of Texas at El Paso has more about tejocote.

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, Jan. 3, 2024

What This Means For You

People who take tejocote should be aware that the supplements might instead contain a highly toxic plant called yellow oleander.

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