Epileptic seizure induced by fennel essential oil

Epileptic Disord. 2011 Sep;13(3):345-7. doi: 10.1684/epd.2011.0451.


An epileptic seizure is reported in a 38-year-old woman, known to be an epileptic patient. Although she was under antiepileptic treatment and had well-controlled epilepsy, she developed a typical generalised tonic-clonic seizure and remained unconscious for 45 minutes following ingestion of a number of cakes containing an unknown quantity of fennel essential oil. Involuntary diarrhoea accompanied her epileptic seizure. This reported case recalls the fact that fennel essential oil can induce seizures and that this oil should probably be avoided by patients with epilepsy. Labelling of products with fennel essential oil should refer to the risk of seizures, particularly for patients with epilepsy. An awareness programme should involve all stakeholders affected by this issue.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Epilepsy / complications
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Foeniculum / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Lamotrigine
  • Oils, Volatile / adverse effects*
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Triazines / therapeutic use


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Triazines
  • Lamotrigine