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Botanical Name : Lawsonia inermis
Species: L. inermis
Common Names: Hina, The henna tree, The mignonette tree, and The Egyptian privet
Vernacular Name: Sans: Madayantika; Hind: Mehendi; Eng : Henna
Habitat : Henna is native to northern Africa, southwestern Asia. It grows on the hot & semi-arid regions.
Henna is a tall shrub or small tree, standing 1.8 to 7.6 m (5 ft 10 in to 24 ft 10 in) tall. It is glabrous and multi-branched, with spine-tipped branchlets. The leaves grow opposite each other on the stem and are glabrous, sub-sessile, elliptical, and lanceolate (long and wider in the middle; average dimensions are 1.5–5.0 cm x 0.5–2 cm or 0.6–2 in x 0.2–0.8 in), acuminate (tapering to a long point), and have depressed veins on the dorsal surface. Henna flowers have four sepals and a 2 mm (0.079 in) calyx tube, with 3 mm (0.12 in) spread lobes. Its petals are obvate, with white or red stamens found in pairs on the rim of the calyx tube. The ovary is four-celled, 5 mm (0.20 in) long, and erect. Henna fruits are small, brownish capsules, 4–8 mm (0.16–0.31 in) in diameter, with 32–49 seeds per fruit, and open irregularly into four splits.
Henna has been in use for centuries in various parts of world. Even as far back as 5000 years ago. Henna was used for coloring the hair and nails of Mummies. Henna was introduced in India during the 12th century by the Mughals. It was most popular among the Rajputs of Mewar. The ladies especially, applied henna on their hands and feet in artistic decorative patterns to beautify themselves. From years to come, it became a tradition to use henna on auspicious days and functions, particularly for weddings, the use of henna to adorn hands and feet became customary.It is a natural product, grown in form of a small plant, of size 3.5 ft to 5 ft. Henna leaves are green in color but its coloring effect is brownish reddish. Its leaves are small. Henna is well known for its natural values, coloring effect and sweet pleasant fragrance.Henna is found in very few countries in world, India is one of the largest producer of henna. Indian henna is of best quality in world.
Henna is the name given to the dried and powdered leaves of lawsonia inermis, a plant that grows in Egypt, India and parts of the Middle East. For thousands of years it has been used as a colorant to stain human hair, nails or skin a bright fire-engine red color. In literature, this orange-red color is often referred to as “henna red”. The ancients combined henna with other natural colorants like indigo, iron oxide or lead salts in order to produce brown and black colors. The Old Testament describes Solomon as using henna and indigo to stain his beard.
This herbal preparation is made with the choicest of herbs and Henna leaves. It can be used for hair conditioning as well as for dyeing, grey hair to natural brown. Its rare herbal ingredients add health to your hair, each time you apply it on your hair.
It can also be used for hand and feet decoration.
CULTIVATION: The henna plant is native to northern Africa, western and southern Asia, and northern Australasia, in semi-arid zones and tropical areas. It produces the most dye when grown in temperatures between 35 and 45 °C (95 and 113 °F). During the onset of precipitation intervals, the plant grows rapidly, putting out new shoots. Growth subsequently slows. The leaves gradually yellow and fall during prolonged dry or cool intervals. It does not thrive where minimum temperatures are below 11 °C (52 °F). Temperatures below 5 °C (41 °F) will kill the henna plant.
BENEFITS OF HENNA
Today people still use henna to color their hair. It is a natural coloring agent without the potential health hazards posed by the synthetic coal tar derivatives, many of which are potentially carcinogenic.
Furthermore, a henna treatment leaves the hair excellently conditioned, with added body and superb shine.
When using henna, the following procedure is used. The henna powder is first mixed with water to the consistency of a thick paste. This paste is then applied to the hair wherever coloration is desired. The longer this “henna pack” is left on the hair the more color is transferred. Heat can be used to further fasten the coloring. When the desired color is achieved, the henna paste is removed by washing and the process is complete.
Henna is one of the oldest cosmetics known, used as a dye to stain nails, hands, feet and hair. The art of staining patterns onto the skin is known as mehndi.
The dye is produced by mixing ground henna leaves with water, although tea leaves, indigo leaves, ground coffee beans or lemon juice are sometimes added to deepen the stain.
Among other compounds, the dying properties of henna have been attributed mainly to a compound called lawsone, which is found in the leaves (about 1% lawsone). Lawsone can bind to some proteins, such as keratin found in hair, which is why it is an effective dye for the body.
Other plants, such as indigo or the seed of the betel nut palm, may also be mixed with henna to change the shade of the dye. A combination of henna and indigo creates a black dye for hair.
Henna is also often used in cosmetic products as a hair conditioner and other preparations have included it for its reputed astringent, anti-dandruff and nail strengthening effects. Lawsone has also been used as a sunscreen.
Essential oil obtained from the flowers (mehndi oil) is used in Asian perfumery. In Pakistan, henna flowers are strewn upon oil seeds and are left in the sun for a few days, then old flowers are replaced by fresh, so the oil seeds eventually become permeated with the fragrance of henna flowers. This oil is used for grooming hair and is massaged onto the face and body as it is thought to improve the complexion and relieve aching muscles.
TO MAKE HAIR DARK BROWN
Mix henna in enough boiling water to make a paste. Use an iron vessel to bring out the colour, keep mixture in vessel overnight. Use next morning.
Take a tablespoon of coffee and make a thick decocation.Mix decocation with henna powder; add water to make a paste. Apply after twenty minutes.
FOR BURNISHED HIGHLIGHTS
Take 2 teaspoon of tea and make a decoration. Add a teaspoon of Methi powder to the boiling tea decocation. Mix decocation with henna powder to make a paste. Allow to settle for thirty minutes to one hour. Just before using add juice to one lime of the paste.
FOR BURGUNDY COLOURING
Take the juice of two beatroots, henna powder, 6 to 8 hibiscus flowers and boil for twenty minutes. Allow it to stand for thirty minutes before use, Add a teaspoon of vinegar.
FOR CONDITIONING OF HAIR
Mix henna into a paste with a cup of curd and water. Add a teaspoon of methi powder and an egg or table spoon of proteinex powder. Mix well and apply on Hair for the thirty minutes.
As per Ayurveda:-
It is iaghu, ruksha, kashaya, tikta and sheetala; pacifies deranged kapha and pitta; beneficial in skin disease, fever, pruritus, burning sensation, haemorrhagic diseases, jaundice, blood dysentery, heart disease, dysuria, vertigo and ulcer.
Parts Used: Whole plant, seeds, flowers, leaves and bark.
Whole plant: in headache and muscle pain:
Seeds’ efficacious in leucorrhoea, menorrhagia and vaginal discharges; infusion ( also flowers) used in bruises and to cure headache;flowers: refrigerant and soporific
Leaves: given in leucorrhoea, menorrhagia and externally in headache; paste (with vinegar or lime juice) applied as poultice over the soles to relieve the troublesome burning sensation of the feet; (with water) in rheumatism;
Decoction is astringent and beneficial.in burns, bruises, inflammation and sprains; used as gargle in cases of ulcer in the mouth; juice mixed with milk prescribed in spermatorrhoea;
An ointment from the leaves useful as a cure of wounds and ulcers; root-bark: alterative, astringent and sedative; infusion given in calculous affections, enlargement of the liver and spleen, jaundice and skin diseases
The leaves are bitter, astringent, acrid, refrigerant vulnerary, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, anodyne, anti-inflammatory, constipating, depurative, liver tonic, haematinic, styptic, febrifuge and trichogenous.
They are useful in wounds, ulcers, strangury,cough, bronchitis, vitiated conditions of kapha and pitta, burning sensation, cephalalgia, hemi_rania, lumbago, rheumatalgia, inflammations, diarrhoea, dysentery, leprosy, leucoderma, scabies, boils, hepatopathy, splenopathy, anaemia, haemorrhages, haemoptysis, fever, ophthalmia, amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, falling of hair, greyness of hair and jaundice.
The flowers are intellect promoting, cardiotonic, refrigerant, soporific, febrifuge and tonic. They are useful in cephalalgia, burning sensation, cardiopathy, amentia, insomnia, and fever.
The roots are bitter, refrigerant, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, ,abortifacient and trichogenous, and are useful in burning sensation, dipsia, leprosy, skin diseases, strangury, amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, and premature greying of hair.
Used mainly within Ayurviedic and Unani medicine. The fruits have been thought to stimulate the menstrual function. In powdered form, the leaves have been utilized both internally and externally to treat various skin diseases, including leprosy, fungal infections, acne and boils. In Arabic medicine the powder was employed in the treatment of jaundice, though there it is unlikely the henna benefited the patient at all. In India the leaves were made into an astringent gargle. An infusion or decoction of the leaves is used for diarrhea and dysentery.
Extracts of henna leaves have been shown to act in a manner similar to ergot with respect to inducing uterine contractions. So it’s possible that extracts of the plant could induce menstruation and be effective emmanagogues. The topical application of two chemical components of this shrub, lawsone and dihydroxyacetone, has been reported ultraviolet light for people with chlorpromazine-induced light sensitivity. Experimentally, a water extract of the leaves inhibited gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Antitumor activity in experiments with mice tends to support folkloric uses of henna as an anticancer agent.
www.redrosehenna.com and www.plantcultures.org.uk