'Unusual case': 9-year-old girl suffers seizures after application of 'mehndi' on hand

06:32 PM Feb 07, 2023 | PTI |

New Delhi: Doctors at a leading private hospital here on Tuesday said they have reported an ”unusual” case of a nine-year-old girl who suffered epileptic seizures triggered by the smell of ”mehndi” applied on her hand.


The case study has been published in the January 2023 edition of the Clinical Neurophysiology, the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said in a statement.

The department of neurology at the hospital recently reported ”an unusual case” of a nine-year-old girl who was suffering epileptic seizures after application of ”mehndi”, it said.

When she had suffered her first convulsion after application of ”mehndi”, she had ”abrupt loss of consciousness, leading to fall and convulsions for 20 seconds”, doctors at the hospital said.

Recently, she was brought to the hospital for further check-up, they said.


”Mehndi” is the art of making designs on someone’s hands with ”henna”, a reddish-brown herbal dye. According to Dr (Col) P K Sethi, senior consultant, department of neurology at the hospital, ”This was an unusual case of reflex epilepsy, where epileptic seizures are consistently induced by identifiable and objective-specific triggers as against other epileptic seizures which are usually unprovoked.”

”In our reported case, seizures were consistently induced by the application of ‘mehndi’,” Sethi said.

In the hospital settings, ”mehndi” was applied to the right hand of the patient. ”Henna” has a very distinctive earthy smell and as soon as the ”mehndi” applied on her hand was brought near to the chest of the patient, she started having seizures, doctors said.

”Video-electroencephalography revealed an organised background with a posterior rhythm of 9 hz. The patient became restless which were followed by seizures,” the hospital said in the statement.

”In our patient, seizures were not triggered by mere application of ‘mehndi’ on hands and feet, rather it was the fragrance which acted as the stimulus leading to stimulation of functional anatomic networks,” Sethi said. The patient was prescribed sodium valproate and parents were advised to avoid exposure to ”mehndi”. The patient is stable now with no reported case of seizure, doctors said.


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