Craving Edible Clays: Anemia or Androgens
1 Department of Pharmacognosy , University of Lagos , Nigeria
2 Department of Pharmacognosy , University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu , Nigeria
Glob J Chem Sci
Article Type : Research Article
Figure 1: A; White clay B; Grey clay.
The study area; Lagos, is the largest city in the Nigerian state of the same name as well as in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world [9-12] and one of the most populous urban areas. It is inhabited by people from diverse ethnic groups; Igbos, Yoruba's and Hausas.
Kaolin is distinguished from other industrial clays based on its fine particle size and pure coloring . It is consumed by many people in the African continent and particularly in Nigeria the behavior/habit of eating soil is known as geophagia and usually classified as pica. Pica is the craving and purposive consumption of substances not culturally defined as food . It is also defined as a psychological eating disorder shown by continuous consumption of largely non-nutritive substances, such as ice (pagophagia); hair (trichophagia); paper (xylophagic) or soil, (geophagia) [4,13].
Geophagia is global though most common with people of African descent [14 ,15] whether living at home in Africa or abroad and can have serious negative effects on the health . The consumption has been linked to the low educational background but the opposite is true for Nigeria where most of the sampling was carried out though some respondents lived abroad. Geophagia cuts across social strata and age, men and women purchase the clays from markets (Figure 2) or supermarkets and consume them , educated people and not so educated also do this. It seems to be a habit gets passed down from parents to offspring's or from friends to friends so it has a very social dimension.