During National Poison Prevention Week from March 17-23, Beaumont pediatrician Dilli Ramesh, M.D., warns parents against giving the ayurvedic medicine Balguti Kesaria to children.
“This warning is especially important now since it is cold and flu season, said Dr. Ramesh. “Balguti Kesaria is marketed to parents for use with infants and children for cough and cold, but it is known to contain lead. Lead poisoning can cause several dangerous, permanent conditions.”
Dr. Ramesh sees many children of Indian descent at Beaumont Pediatrics, Farmington. He raises awareness of this issue by telling parents about the product’s lead content and how it could harm kids.
“Lead poisoning wreaks havoc, especially with young children. Blood lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter is a threshold level that should alert physicians and caretakers to act quickly to reduce further exposure. By the time symptoms appear, the damage may have already been done. We all must be proactive in preventing brain damage of kids early in their life.”
Parents have also given this product to kids for other conditions, such as rickets, worms and teething. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s analysis of a Balguti Kesaria sample confirmed it contained high levels of lead, in addition to arsenic and mercury.
A child's body absorbs lead faster than an adult's. Lead exposure can cause serious damage to a child’s central nervous system, kidneys and immune system. Even low-level chronic exposure to lead in children is associated with impaired cognitive function, including reduced IQ, behavioral difficulties and other problems.
This product is sold online and manufactured by several companies. Individuals have also mailed or brought the product into the United States.
“Brand and source are important when it comes to dietary supplements. Some contain contaminants, including chemicals or metals,” said Hallie Armstrong, ND, senior naturopath lead, Integrative Medicine Program, Beaumont Hospital, Troy. “Parents should not replace conventional care or prescribed medications with products not proven safe and effective. They should tell their child’s health caregivers about any complementary or integrative health approaches given to their child.”Dr. Ramesh says if you or your family have been using Balguti Kesaria, discontinue immediately. All persons who have consumed the product should receive a blood lead test through their primary care provider.