Re: help! accidental ingestion of little flake of henna paste...

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Posted by Littlefox on July 15, 2002 at 19:02:04:

In reply to: Re: help! accidental ingestion of little flake of henna paste... posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on July 14, 2002 at 11:16:49:

: Ingestion of eucalyptus essential oil is potentially fatal, but I
: don't know amount per body weight necessary for such.
: Ingestion of PPD "black henna" is FATAL.

The Home Health Guide to Poisons and Antidotes - Carol Turkington
ISBN 0-8160-3316-1 .... my copy is a bit older but at the time it
was about $13... which isn't bad for a little safe of mind when your
kid eats something weird. Also good for beginner herbalists... makes
sure you don't do anything incredibly stupid ;)

Volatile oils poisoning
Symptoms: Acute ingestion of 15 ml of volatile (essential) oil can be
fatal since it irritates all tissues, damages the kidneys and causes
swelling of the lungs, brain and lining of the stomach. Symptoms
include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, unconsciousness, shallow
breathing and confusions. Inhaling of volatile oils can cause
dizziness, rapid an shallow breathing, rapid heart beat,
unconsciousness or convulsions. Further volatile oils in amounts
large enough to cause an abortion are also large enough to cause
irreversible kidney and liver damage (This is in reverence to
pennyroyal and its friends)

General Treatment: There are no specific Antidotes. Administer Liquid
Petrolatum or castor Oil and then perform gastric lavage followed
immediately by the administration of activated charcoal. Give milk
or mineral oil to ease stomach irritation, give plenty of fluids and
keep victim warm and quiet.

Volatile Oils listed as per house hold varieties:
Clove Oil- Contains 80-90% eugenol
Eucalyptus Oil- Contains 70% Eucalyptol; TOXIC
Lavender Oil - Contains Coumarin
These were the main ones listed

Referenced Oil Contents:
Eucalyptus Oil- Toxic Dose (for an adult) is 5ml.
Symptoms: Following acute overdose by mouth, symptoms may appear
within 5 to 30 mins and including burning in the mouth and throat
followed by nausea and vomiting. Drowsiness, confusion,
restlessness, delirium, muscle twitching and comma may follow. Death
may occur as a result of depression of the central nervous system and
respiratory arrest.
Treatment: Treat seizures and coma if they occur. There is no
specific antidote. Perform gastric lavage but do not induce vomiting
because of risk of inducing seizures. Administer activated charcoal.

Coumarin : No specific information on this was given other than to
follow the standard procedures for volatile oil injestion.

Eugenol - A compound of Phenol also known as Carbolic acid. (Also in
this group are creosote, creosol, hydroquinone dinitrophenol and
There are no minimum toxic levels although there have been reports of
infants dying after repeated skin applications of small doses. Adult
deaths have occurred after ingestion of 1 to 32 g of phenol, although
survival after ingesting of 45 to 65 gs has been reported. There
have been reports of infant deaths with as small as 50 to 500 mg
Symptoms: Can cause blindness. Ingesting large amounts of phenol can
severely burn mouth and throat, can cause abdominal pain, nausea,
corrosion of the lips, mouth, esophagus and stomach, cyanosis, muscle
weakness, collapse, coma and death. Death from phenol poisining is
most likely during hot weather when lost of body heat is inhibited.
Treatment: DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING! Phenol is corrosive and may induce
seizures. Ingested poisons can be treated with milk, olive oil or
vegetable oil followed by repeated gastric lavage. (NEITHER mineral
oil or alcohol should be used, since they speed up the absorption of
phenol, although some medical texts recommend them). Castor oil
dissolves phenols and interferes with absorption. Follow with
activated charcoal and a cathartic.

Hope any of this helps but in answer to the question.... But I'm not
a doctor and a book is in no way a good substitute to asking Poision
Control.... hey it's a free call ;)
But to the best of my knowledge, if it's a flake that's dried, most
of the oil has evaporated off (defining characteristic of volatile
oils they evaporate /very/ quickly).... but if he grabs up your fresh
cone and shoves it into his mouth, it's time to see the Emergency

As to Henna, I see no mention in any of my herbal books as to any
toxic effects of injestion of the powder by itself. Some cultures do
it for a multitude of reasons but near as I have found in my library,
there aren't any hazardous side effect that they're making mention of
and it is questionable as to which herbalist manual as to whether it
is useable as internal or not. Generally speaking about 50% of my
books mention that 'some cultures use it internally' but they aren't
giving any recommendations dosage or preparation so I think that is
their way of saying 'we don't know either...we think they're
weird'...So my nearest guess would be it's pretty much like eating
grass or maple leaves.... not exactly the best thing in the world for
humans to be eating but there are worse....

Hope any of that helps, if not, oh well ;)


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