Henna and chemotherapy?

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Katarzena
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Henna and chemotherapy?

I know this is a sensitive situation and no one will probably like to advice me for sure, but I'd like to hear your opinions, especially from Ms CCartwrightJones...

I've read that henna is not good for people with anemia. I have never been anemic, not even close but I am undergoing chemotherapy (cychlophosphamide) because of my autoimmune disorder. These are very low doses and I don't have any side effects of it; but the problem is that cyclophosphamide might lower the amount of blood cells which is similar to anemia or did I get something wrong?

Do you think it wouldn't be good idea using henna and indigo because of my medicines? I will probably stay on them for more then next 6 months and sometimes maybe again in my life because of flare ups common with this disease (but then again maybe not).

 

Thank you very much!

ACWN
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Henna and indigo are probably far safer than chemical dyes, but this is more something you need to talk to your doctor about. Explain that these plants are 100% pure with no chemicals (not even pestasides so far that I know) or lead in them, but that using henna can cause hemolytic crisis (acute and often severe anemia) in people with G6DP deficiency and you want to know if it would be safe to use these plants while you're undergoing chemo.

Carrie
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

I would agree - I've never heard that henna isn't good for those who are anemic, or those on chemotherapy. It's G6PD deficiency (an inherited condition) that can cause hemolytic crisis in infants and young children exposed to sufficient quantities of henna, or people of any age ingesting other substances (broad beans and certain medicines, mostly) that trigger a crisis.

CCartwrightJones
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Only your physician can make this determination.  Lawsone can cause oxydative hemolysis in blood cells in people who are homozygous g6Pd deficient, but otherwise, has no effect on blood cells.

If your physician also advises against any products with lead, pesticides, or suchlike: the henna from Yemen in the shop here came up absolutely clean in an independant laboratory assay. 

JuliaM
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Hi Katarzena,

Henna isn't so much an issue for people with preexisting anemia, than it is for people who are known to be G6PD deficient, in whom it can cause a hemolytic anemia and precipitate a hemolytic crisis. Cyclophosphamide can be leukemogenic, what it effectually can do is suppress your bone marrow so that it produces less cells of every lineage (white cells, red blood cells, platelets, etc etc). This doesn't necessarily put you at risk of hemolysis, but in case your medication interacts with the henna and causes oxidative stress from which you cannot recover, it would pose a very serious problem that would be life threatening and necessitate blood transfusions.

Although there are some chemotherapeutic agents with which use of henna actually alleviates adverse effects such as acral erythema, cyclophosphamide is not one of them.
Discerning whether or not using henna could be a health hazard for you lies in figuring out how it would react with the cyclophosphamide or its metabolites. Im sure your doctor has discussed some of the more serious adverse effects, such as hemorrhagic cystitis , that occur from toxic metabolites of the drug (such as acrolein); these would be a major concern because we don't  know if henna could drive your metabolism of the drug to favor more production of acrolein.  Knowing that a small percentage of henna does get absorbed into the bloodstream, I can deduce that it would be reasonable for you to avoid its use for the duration that you are on the cyclophosphamide since you would risk a systemic reaction.

I am not familiar with the absorption of indigo into the blood, perhaps CCJ can give some insight. If it does absorb transdermally into the blood, I would also refrain from its use.

 You should definately consult with your physician on this like everyone else mentioned.

I wish you a speedy recovery.

Julia

Jen
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Thanks Julia! Nice to "see" you around again!

CCartwrightJones
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Yes, Julia, great to see you again!

No indigo hits the bloodstream.

JuliaM
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Hi guys! Its great to see the henna page is doing so well. I finally took a little study break to reregister on the new forum, and saw this post...How could I keep my nerdy mouth shut?!

I'm studying for the boards right now, so just over a month left till freedom. Then all my creative juices, which have been pushed into my deep subconscious, can all come back out again. Its gotten so bad, that when my head hits the pillow at night, I close my eyes and see henna..beads...other stuff to make stuff with. Ridiculous.

Glad to see you guys again, if for a brief study break second =-).

 

Julia

Katarzena
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Thank you everyone for answering. Argh I was so looking forward to dying my hair with henna and indigo!

I doubt that I'm G6DP deficient but I'll ask my doctor about it. I'll be on cyclophosphamide for next 4 months so now I'm not pretty sure about using henna. That sucks :/

But what makes me wonder is that I've seen pictures of people that are bald due to chemotherapy and they had their heads coloured with BAQ henna. How is it considered safe for them when cyclophosphamide is a chemo drug? Maybe the fact that they have stopped with the chemo and I'm still using it?

I don't know if asking my doc about henna will help much, she knows nothing abut it and she'd probably say no and wouldn't get bothered with that. But what am I supposed to do with my roots? It seemes that cemical dyes are safer for me :D Can't be!

I'll do some more research and decide.

Katarzena
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Oh I forgot to ask how long is henna in your blood stream? I can put it on before my chemo since I don't use everyday pills but infusion once a month.

May I ask what are your studies JuliaM? You seem to know much about cyclophosphamide and chemo drugs. Do you know how henna reacts with methotrexate,imuran and bactrim? I'll be put on one of those in pill form after cyclo so I was wondering it might be considered safe then?

ACWN
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Chemical dye is NOT safer when you're on chemo. Chemical dye really isnt safe period. Look how many people end up with allergic reactions and trashed hair, or worse, hair that falls out in clumps and wont grow back.

JuliaM
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Hi Katarzena,

ACWN brings up a very important point, that chemical dyes are definately not a better and safer alternative to dying your hair, whether or not you're on chemo.
 

Chemo drugs are not all made equal, and while they achieve similar effects, there are different classes and different modes of actions to work on different types of illnesses. Some are safer than others in terms of reactivity and metabolism, some are also more effective than others.
Having monthly infusions does not mean that your body is relatively free of your medication shortly after it is administered. They are usually administered in large enough doses that the medication stays in your bloodstream at optimal levels for a given time before tapering off (at which point, another infusion is administered).  If you were to henna your hair, say hypothetically, 4 or so days prior to your infusion would still only slightly minimize any interactions because your medication levels would still be at a high enough dose where its working optimally.

There is no specific nor conclusive literature out there that can tell us how henna reacts with various medications that people take.  In fact, the drug interactions that people are aware of, come from people like you and me who take them, and then notice adverse effects and cross reactions.  If your physician tells you not to use henna with any medication you're on, its likely not because they're arrogant and ignorant. Your doctor is trying to save you the trouble of developing any interactions and toxic effects (and any associated mortality or morbidity) that no one is yet aware of....that includes addition of henna and just about anything else since your body will be overburdened.

When I say that cyclophosphamide could present potential problems for toxicity, I say that based on the fact that it is a prodrug that heavily depends on your body's metabolism in order to be converted to an active drug in your body. This process is not flawless, as discussed earlier, it can cause accumulation of toxic metabolites.  You could potentially expect this with any drug that is a prodrug, and addition of other substrates (of which there are millions that we come in contact with daily), can swing your metabolism of the drug in either direction.   If you are tolerating your treatments well, and with few adverse effects, this is a blessing- why change that?

Trimethoprim and Sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) work as a combo to achieve an antimicrobial effect, are not prodrugs, and do not depend on your metabolism to work. They also carry far less risk of toxicity and adverse effects than does the cyclophosphamide, understand they're also in completely different drug classes. I would not prioritize them highly to interact with henna, but again, this is speculation, and there is no known literature to reference.
Azathiprine (imuran) is a prodrug, however, its conversion to the active drug is not dependent on any active processes in your body, and its metabolites are don't show any excessive toxicity. Methotrexate is not a prodrug, its metabolism doesn't yield any toxic metabolites either. Therefore I'd make the assumption that on these drugs you would have low chances of any reactions with henna.

However, note that low potential for adverse reactions does not mean that there is no potential for interaction. These are all medications with potentially deadly sideffects, some people are lucky to not to experience the side effects, this is a byproduct of luck and having a qualified and experienced physician selecting the drugs to your specific needs; selecting treatmets it is an artform in itself.

You are ultimately the decision maker in your treatment plan. Any decidions you make regarding your treatment should be decisions reached with the help and guidance of your doctor, not your roots, and not from well-wishing people's advice.  If you choose to use henna (or chemical dyes, or anything else that could potentially react) during the course of your treatment, understand you are risking developing adverse effects. If you are bent upon using henna during the course of your treatment, I highly suggest doing research of your own and talking to other people who have used henna on chemo, noting the drug they were on, and if they experienced any adverse effects.

Last but not least. I am a medical student, I am not a licencesed physician. Any advice that I give is from my understanding of pharmacology, not from any known reliable literature on this topic.  Your doctor is the authority on helping you achieve an acceptable (to you) treatment plan. Consult with her!

Best wishes!

Julia

CCartwrightJones
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

I'm working with a university testing henna's effect of relieving hand-foot syndrome,   http://www.chemocare.com/managing/handfoot_syndrome.asp, a chemotherapy side effect.

I haven't heard any negatives thus far, but that's just one chemo drug.

JuliaM
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Thats exiting! I'm glad to see that's finally being investigated, it's been known to help for some time now. Sad though, that the only reason its probably getting the investigation it deserves is because big pharma can use that as a profit. Hand-foot syndrome (palmar-plantar erythema, acral erythema) has been, for a while, the number one reason why the use of those drugs fell out of favor with patients who had options to take other drugs.

Is there a drug in particular that the university is testing it with, or all that cause hand-foot syndrome?  Keep me posted, please!

CCartwrightJones
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

There's a small cluster of people at that university that I've been working with who are investigating several henna properties.

By dog's blessings, its not a big pharma thing ....    and one of the things they are working with the FDA is the construction of protocols for defining EXACTLY WHAT IS IN A BOX OF HENNA so it can be sold in drugstores and used on skin, perscribed by a physician. 

That's why I've been doing the drill of sending every batch henna to an independent laboratory for testing.  That's why its so important to have discovered that every shipment of henna is definably different, even from the same exporter and the same year's crop: if you don't know what's in the box, how can you perscribe it as a theraputic?

At some point the big pharmas may look back over their shoulder and wonder what the heck just happened ....

JuliaM
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Catherine thats amazing! I love it! You go girl! Stick it to 'em!

frenesi.
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

 Ok, don't understand half of what you guys are saying,but am

curious what is G6PD ?   

JuliaM
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

G6PD is an enzyme deficient in people with G6PD deficiency. In essence, what it does in normal people who have plenty of it,  is it prevents your red blood cells from lysing, i.e exploding all over the place, everytime they come across an oxidative stressor (typically molecules with oxygen groups that are reactive or other reactive molecules with unpaired electron groups).  It does so by maintaining a constant supply of NADP in our cells, which mops up the oxidants.

Read up here on G6PD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucose-6-phosphate_dehydrogenase

Here on G6PD deficiency. somewhere...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucose-6-phosphate_dehydrogenase_deficiency

Although I know Catherine has some very explanatory articles on here too.

ACWN
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Basically how I understand it is if you have G6DP deficiency and you expose yourself to certain medications (such as asprin), food items (such as fava beans, I believe), mothballs or henna, you will have a severe anemic reaction. In healthy adults it can cause severe headaches, nausea and hot flashes. As well as dizziness, I believe. Those are just the symptoms I remember being mentioned. There was one report of a lady who'd never used henna before and was pregnant, so she used it thinking it was safe (and normally it is!) and ended up having the deficiency... I believe she miscarried because her reaction was so severe. I could be wrong on that, but thats what I recall.

 

In children, its very dangerous and can land the child in the hospital, especially if the child is under 6 years old.

 

Its inherited from the father's side. Males will typically have it more than females, if I understand Lady C's info right. If you are of Middle Eastern or North African descent, its best to talk to your doctor before you henna if you never have before. Just to be safe!

CCartwrightJones
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

ACWN, I believe you have mis-remembered some things.

 

There has been no documented miscarriage from henna/G6PD foetus, but there was one documented when the mother ate a meal of fava beans with a G6PD foetus.  That would be a far larger dosage than she would ever get from henna, unless she ate a whole meal of henna. 

 

G6PD is about 12% worldwide, but its heterozygous, and only homozygous G6PD is going to present a problem.  (much smalller percentage)

 

The populations with high G6PD are Kurdish Jews, other groups of Sephardic and Levantine Jews, Zooarastrian Indians (Parsi), Thai, Greeks ... some American Blacks.  Look for a group that has a history of agriculture in a malarial zone, and NOT using henna.    G6PD offers protection against malaria.  If there is no counterforce, G6PD tends to rise in malarial zones.  

Here's my full article:

Henna and the Evil Eye, Salt and Demons, and the Geography of G6PD Deficiency



Traditions of averting malevolent spirits with henna and salt to may have altered the incidence of Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency in populations across the North Africa, the Levant, and the Arabian Peninsula. The geographic distribution of G6PD deficiency, an x-linked hereditary enzymopathy, has been correlated to populations’ adaptation to malarial environments, but this has not fully explained the variations in the gene’s distribution.  For instance, Jewish Sephardim and Mizrahim have 30% to 60% of G6PD deficiency while Muslims from the same countries have rates of 1.8% to 8.5%.  Recently, physicians have found that G6PD deficient neonates and young children, particularly males, who have been hennaed according to local blessing and curing traditions in Turkish and Bedouin Muslim cultures, suffer hyperbilirubinemia and acute hemolytic crisis. In Jewish traditions in the same regions, children were traditionally rubbed with salt rather than henna.  This paper proposes that traditions of using henna versus salt as celebration and folk remedies for children may have changed the genetic prevalence of G6PD over generations.

ACWN
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Lady C - there was a gal that came onto the old forum and posted on a large "henna and pregnancy" thread. She said she used henna and had the symptoms - massive headache, nausea and hot flashes, and severe cramps. Said she took some migrain meds for it and went to sleep. She miscarried after that. A couple folks asked if it was the meds that caused the miscarriage and she said "no", I cant remember if she said her doctor said it wasnt the meds or if she just said.

 

http://www.hennaforhair.com/forum/index.php?module=phpwsbb&PHPWSBB_MAN_OP=view&PHPWS_MAN_ITEMS[]=741 - this thread here. Her screen name was Ari. She had anemia when she was a teen to her early 20s and its on both sides of her family. She fell into the Mediterranean descent catagory.

CCartwrightJones
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Is there any evidence that the henna was causitive, or was it just coincidental, and who made the determination?

ACWN
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

The posts that are there are all the info I have, so I dont know if she talked to her doctor about it or not. Like I said, I could be wrong given thats all I have and it could just be coincidence, but she had the reaction while she had the henna product in her hair (and I think it was a premixed henna, so it might not have been entirely pure and that could have something to do with it too) and that could have triggered other things to happen. I'm not saying 100% "yes, she had G6DP deficiency and henna caused a miscarriage", I'm just saying that thats what how it was reported and it could be true and thats what happened or I'm wrong (it wouldnt be the first time after all) and it could be coincidence and bad timing. But it had stuck out in my mind so I mentioned it.

CCartwrightJones
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Even fatal henna applications on G6PD deficient children take several days to do their damage.  If the henna was still in her hair when she began miscarrying, then henna was NOT the causitive factor.

Carrie
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

I just want to point out that the poster Ari had NOT been diagnosed with G6PD deficiency, at the time of her postings, and it was her midwife (not a physician) who decided that "that poisonous plant" caused the miscarriage.

I also don't think we can simply assume that anyone who has a headache, dizziness or nausea, etc, during or after a henna application has G6PD deficiency. Coincidence is not causation.

ACWN
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Okay, okay.. I shouldnt have mentioned it, sorry...

frenesi.
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

 How soon after using the henna do the people say they have the symptoms.  Headache

dizzy, etc.     I have been having most of those lately, and was wondering if it could be

the henna, but I have not done my hair in at least a month now and am still haveing all of

these symptom on and off.  Could it still be the  henna or would the symptoms occur right

after you hennaed if at all.??

ACWN
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Its not the henna. These symptoms would be with in the hour and would not last a month.

Katarzena
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

Okay I will consult with my doctor on the next visit and decide. Def won't dye my hair while on cyclo but I guess other pills would be okay. I know many people that are on drugs for life,like those I would get for half a year and they did everything they would normally do!

 

Thanks again :)

valorie
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Re: Henna and chemotherapy?

 I don't know if this will help and I'm super late in reading this. However, I've used henna for years now and I have a very rare blood disorder (a primary immune deficiency lacking in igg proteins and some t cells). I am a blood recipient of infusions once a month. I've only noticed since switching to henna only about 3 or 4 years ago, my health has been better than the chemical dyes. I have very bad reactive airways though so ammonia and other chemicals in hair colors are just terrible for me, and the hennna has been a wonderful replacement, not to mention has aided in the growing out of my hair, it looks much healthier too. 

My risk factor as well as other things is lymphoma. I am also on many medications and have been of various nature over the years. 

Best to you,

valorie

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