SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean customs said it had confiscated more than 17,000 “health” capsules smuggled from China that contain human flesh, most likely extracted from aborted fetuses or stillborn babies.

The Chinese Ministry of Health said Tuesday it had been investigating allegations that capsules were being manufactured from human remains but had found no evidence.

The South Korean customs agency said pills had been smuggled into the country through parcels and luggage carried from China. The pills were composed of “ground stillborn fetus or babies that had been cut into small pieces and dried in gas ranges for two days, then made into powders and encapsulated,” the report said.

The South Korean government has been investigating capsules made of human flesh since last year when a monthly magazine released a lengthy report about the use of dead infants in traditional medicines. The reports said the infants and fetuses were purchased illegally from hospitals.

Forensic tests on pills marketed as “infant capsule” and “fetus powder” found a 99.7 percent match with human tissue, South Korean reports said.

Among some traditional healers in South Korea and China, unborn infants and particularly placenta are believed to have medicinal properties, such as building stamina.