Dizziness with Henna

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danae
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Dizziness with Henna

I saw some discussion about this on another message board, but the site is down and I cannot add to it, but I don't see anything like it here.

Has anyone else experienced dizziness and heart palpitations while applying or after applying henna? I have much more to say about this, but as I do not know the etiquette of starting a discussion like this, I'll leave it at that until the moderator says otherwise.

How potent of a diuretic is henna as applied to your scalp?

 

ACWN
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Re: Dizziness with Henna

Pure henna, as a general rule, should not cause issues like this and I don't believe it is a diuretic but I could be wrong.

 

For your own safety, I would strongly recommend washing the henna out now if you have not and speak to your doctor before continuing with henna.

Carrie
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Re: Dizziness with Henna

 I have never seen henna discussed in terms of it being a diuretic, myself. I have seen a few reports of people feeling unwell when using henna and other pure plant dyes, but I wouldn't say it's common. It seems to be more of an individual thing. I agree with ACWN's suggestion to stop using it if you feel unwell. Wash it out and consult your physician. 

danae
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Re: Dizziness with Henna

I'll go into a bit more detail. I was hennaing my hair and was about 20 minutes in when I suddenly felt very dizzy and disoriented. I felt like I needed to get the henna out of my hair immediately, so I jumped into the shower and washed it out. Afterwards I felt very woozy and weak, and my heart was pounding as if I'd been running for my life. It was such a strong reaction that I had my husband take me to the ER.

Once at the ER I was hooked up for an EKG. My resting heart rate was 100, but then shot up to 140 and that's again when I felt dizzy and weak like I had when the henna was on my head. The EKG was abnormal. It indicated that I had an extremely low potassium level. I was given potassium and was kept over the next few hours for observation. Once my level was back up, I was released.

Which brings me around to wondering if henna has diuretic properties. The doctor could not easily explain why my potassium level would be so low as to effect my heart. She asked if I'd taken any herbal laxative teas, or other types of diuretics. I said no. But then I came across this study about the diuretic qualities of henna. Unfortunately, I don't know what it ultimately means in regards to if henna is a strong diuretic or not. Perhaps one of you would know how to read it?

pelagiaresearchlibrary.com/asian-journal-of-plant-science/vol1-iss3/AJPSR-2011-1-3-28-33.pdf

In the end, I do not want to stop hennaing my hair, but I am terrified to let it touch my scalp. Currently I am going through a lot of trouble to henna my hair keeping it off of the scalp, but I will have to use conventional dye on my roots. If, however, henna is a diuretic, and even has diuretic properties through the scalp, then maybe I just need to drink Pedialyte first (kidding but not).

I know you cannot make a recommendation as to whether or not I should use henna again. I'm more curious as to if henna is a diuretic.

What are your thoughts? What does the study say?

 

 

 

 

ACWN
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Re: Dizziness with Henna

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess (because, frankly, a lot of the wording is well above my head in some cases) that the lawsone was (force) INGESTED or injected and possibly in large amounts.

If I recall right, very little of the dye (lawsone) is actually absorbed through the scalp into the system. The worst I've ever heard of, as far as henna effecting their bodily functions, is people having green pee, but that's it. I've never heard of it being a diuretic in the entire time I've been heanning (since about '08 or so, I think).

 

While we cannot offer any real medical advice since we aren't doctors, we CAN and ARE recommending that you do NOT use henna again until you have a very long sit down with your regular doctor for your own safety. Its the same with any possible allergic reaction - its better to stop using it entirely until your doctor agrees that its safe for you to continue. If just 20 minutes landed you in the ER and on an IV, then any future exposure could be REALLY dangerous!! Please, for your own health... just hold off and talk to your doctor!

Jen
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Re: Dizziness with Henna

 Unlike many other studies involving henna, this was done with mixtures with the whole plant leaf rather than just extracted lawsone, which I think is great because that's exactly how we use it! This article suggests that flavanoids in henna are the reason diuretic effect. We know from other papers how much lawsone is absobed into the body that way, but I don't know about flavanoids. 

It seems like your exposure was very brief...

I have also never heard of a situation like yours resulting from henna use, but like ACWN says, it sounds like something not to be messed with! I would talk it over with the doc. Maybe even show him this paper. 

ACWN
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Re: Dizziness with Henna
Jen - just out of curiosity, does the paper say if it was applied like we apply to hair/skin or if was it ingested?
CCartwrightJones
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Re: Dizziness with Henna
1% of lawsone available from henna will penetrate to capillaries and blood stream below the outer layers of the skin, but it doesn't penetrate quickly enough to produce such an effect. The PPD molecule, half that size WILL move from chemical hair dye to be a measurable amount in urine in 20 minutes. 

It seems very unlikely that henna caused the dizziness, and highly improbable that it affected your potassium levels.  Nothing has ever been studied or published on that effect, so we should probably assume that the two events are coincidental rather than cause and effect, unless you have homozygous G6PD deficiency. Your physician can test you for that, and if you have that gene, you probably should never use henna again.

That being said, I have never seen a well produced study on the metabolites in sequence of henna as lawsone passes through the human body.  If your physician is interested in doing some study on that, it would be welcome and publishable research.  If you can get some interest, I can provide henna that's gone through all the lab panels necessary for used in medical research, and I"m the ONLY henna person who has that, and I've worked with henna medical testing projects on henna already, so I can trouble shoot some of the methodology.


Carrie
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Re: Dizziness with Henna
I'm glad Catherine commented! 

To the original poster, did you urinate a large amount in the hour or two after applying the henna? I have never noticed that effect myself, over several years of monthly applications.
Carrie
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Re: Dizziness with Henna
ACWN, the article said it was ingested and they were comparing the diuretic effect of aqueous (water) extract with ethanol extract.
ACWN
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Re: Dizziness with Henna
Ah! Thanks, Carrie. I kept trying to find out myself but its all so over my head I couldn't. *looks sheepish* Just a tad bit too technical for me, lol.
danae
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Re: Dizziness with Henna
Thank you all for looking into this and sharing your experiences. I have used henna for over 4 years now, and have never had a reaction like this before. I brought it up with the ER doc, as well as my primary during followup, and neither of them feel that henna could cause a reaction like this. However, I do know that Catherine probably knows a whole lot more about henna itself than a doctor even would, so I was curious as to her perspective on it.

I agree, the potassium level being so strongly affected within 20 minutes doesn't seem likely given the circumstances, and I didn't have time to urinate at all between application and effect. The only reason I am giving the hennaing and the effect stock at all was because I did see some commentary about a handful of others who have also had the same reaction as myself, who thought maybe they were imagining it, and who have tried pure BAQ henna again with the same result. I love my henna so much, I really wanted to hope that it was something with a simple fix.

I'm going to assume that there is some unknown factor in the henna that I've become sensitized to, and that it is very rare. I do absorb enough that my pee is always green after I use it. I have hennaed once without letting it touch my scalp (boy was that a pain in the rear, let me tell you) and I didn't have any problems, so I am going to continue with that. I am sick with the idea of having to use conventional dye on my roots, but at least the henna color stays strong and won't need a henna touch up too often.
CCartwrightJones
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Re: Dizziness with Henna
The green pee isn't harmful in itself, but it probably does say something about the way your body metabolizes henna.  I suspect your urine is relatively alkaline. 

Perhaps don't leave the henna on very long, and use it with heat to compensate for the short duration.
danae
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Re: Dizziness with Henna
Hi there! I wanted to check back in...

After resorting to conventional red dye for the last 4 months and hating everything about it, I finally grew desperate enough to try to henna my hair again. Granted my previous experience was terrifying, I thought maybe if I made some changes to how I previously applied the henna, I might be able to select out what caused my reaction.

To begin, at the time of the adverse reaction, my thyroid levels were abnormally low. The replacement hormone dosage was increased which brought my levels within normal limits.

My potassium level was low, so I ate bananas for a few days before applying the henna. I also made sure to be well hydrated.

But what may be more important are the two other changes I made. I ordered the Raj Twilight from this site and used it. Previously I'd always gotten my henna from Indian grocery stores. The last batch I used was new, and I remember being a bit suspicious of because it was so bright green. It behaved like it should've over a harvested hair sample, so I used it anyway. The second change I made was to not use ACV, but substitute pure orange juice instead. I have done some reading that vinegar can either resolve heart palpitations, or it can cause them. I would use a lot of vinegar in my mix because I wanted the henna to eventually darken up as much as possible without having to do a lot of applications.

In the end, I did a full head, root to tip application which I left on for 5 hours without incident. I had my husband sit with me all day just in case anything happened, which helped to keep my anxiety level down. I had some concerns that I might become so anxious that I would inadvertently cause the same symptoms simply by being so anxious.

While this has been only one application since that bad reaction, I do hope that something got resolved among all of these factors and I can go back to being my happily hennaed self!


CCartwrightJones
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Re: Dizziness with Henna
Excellent.  Sounds like henna was NOT the problem.  Proceed with joy.  I don't know whether the green coal-tar-based dye would be a problem, but it's definitely of no benefit.  
ACWN
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Re: Dizziness with Henna

I'm very glad to hear this and also wonder if the previous henna you used was not entirely what it seemed. At least you know with Lady C's henna that its medically lab tested and safe. And always will be.

I know vinegar based henna mixes can stink to high heaven too, so maybe the smell had something to do with the dizziness you experienced? Even if it *didn't* smell bad to you, it could still effect you in that manner. I know too much perfume can cause that reaction in me if I smell a strong perfume for too long, or sample too many different scents (like at Bath and Body Works).

 

Keep us posted about this!

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