This fascinating plant is world wide known
for the beautiful coloring dye that is used by the Orientals in coloring
their hands and body. The Egyptians are said to have prepared both an oil
and an ointment from the flowers for making the limbs supple. Egyptian
Royalty were said to dye their hair with Henna leaves. Henna’s botanical
name is Lawsonia Inermis,its common name is Jamaica Mignonette, Mendee,
Egyptian privet, smooth Lawsonia. Its Arabic name is henna and the most
popular Indian name is Mendhi.
Medicinal Action and Uses
As a medicinal plant, henna has been used as an astringent,
antihemorrhagic, intestinal antineoplastic, cardio-inhibitory, hypotensive,
and a sedative. It has been employed both internally and locally in
jaundice, leprosy, smallpox, and affections of the skin. The fruit is
thought to have emmenagogue properties.
It has also been used as a folk remedy against amoebiasis, headache,
jaundice, ranging from beriberi to burns and bruises ans leprosy.Henna
extracts show antibacterial, antifungal, and ultraviolet light screening
activity. Henna has exhibited antifertility activity in animals and may
Henna has been used as medical treatment for wide range of ailments to
cure almost anything from headache to leprosy and other skin disorders. It
is used to create an instant ‘Scab’ on large areas & is believed to have
antiseptic properties. As a cooling agent it is used for burning of skin.
It also has great dandruff fighting ability.
Henna is also used for rheumatic and arthritic pains. Alcoholic extract of
the leaves showed mild anti- bacterial activity against Staph aureus and
E. coli'. Antibacterial and antifungal activities have been confirmed .The
antihaemorrhagic properties are attributed to lawsone. The naphthoquinone
has emmenogogue and oxytocic actions.
The dried leaf and petiole of henna are generally recognized as safe when
used as a color additive for hair. A distilled water prepared from them is
used as a cosmetic, and the powdered leaves have been in use from the most
ancient times in Eastern countries for dyeing the hair and the nails a
reddish-yellow. Traditionally henna is used to decorate hands and feet
during weddings and other ceremonies.