Botanical Name: Lawsonia lnermis
Indian Name: Mehndi
Origin, Distribution and Composition
Henna is a middle-sized shrub with many branches. It has small white or pinkish fragrant flowers in large terminal bunches, and small round fruits. The trade name henna is based on the word hina which is the Arabic name of the drug.
The plant occurs in several parts of India, chiefly in the drier parts of the peninsula, and is usually cultivated in hedges. It is also cultivated for commercial purposes. in Punjab, Gujarat Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The leaves contain a-glucoside colouring matter and 'nennotinic acid. On petroleum ether extraction, the seeds of the plant yield a viscous oil containing behenic, arachidic, stearic, palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids.
Healing Power and Curative Properties
The leaves have medicinal properties like arresting secretion or bleeding and preventing skin diseases. The bark and seeds of the plant are used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine.
The seeds of the henna plant are effective in the treatment of dysentery. They are powdered, mixed with ghee and made into small balls of the size of a betel nut. It is also very helpful in this condition, when taken with water.
The bark of the plant is effective in the treatment of liver disorders like jaundice and enlargement of the liver. Either its powder is used in 1.25 to 5 decigram doses or its decoction in 30 to 60 gram doses in the treatment of these disorders.
Henna helps in the treatment of baldness~1J5tafd oil boiled with henna leave~; promote growth of hair. .Two hundred and fifty grams- or-mustard oil is boiled in a tin basin Sixty grams of the leaves are gradually added to the oil and heated. The oil is then filtered through a cloth and stored in a bottle. Regular massage with this oil produces abundant hair.
Henna leaves are beneficial in the treatment of prickly heat. The leaves ground with water are applied over the affected area.
Henna flower cures headaches caused by the heat of the sun. The headache is relieved by a plaster made of henna flowers in vinegar and applied over the forehead.
Burning Sensation on the Feet A paste of the leaves is applied on the soles relieves in this condition.
Henna leaves are effective in the treatment of skin problems like boils and bums. They are locally applied on the affected area. Bruised leaves can be applied beneficially in rheumatic joints, inflammatory swellings, bruises and leprosy.
A decoction of the leaves can be used as gargle, with beneficial results, in case of sore throat.
Pessaries or vaginal suppositories made of the leaves and seeds can be used beneficially in the treatment of excessive menstruation, vaginal discharges and leucorrhoea, or excessive white discharge.
Spermatorrhoea or Involuntary Ejaculation: The juice of fresh leaves is beneficial, provided it is given in doses of 8 to 16 grams.
Henna is mainly used as a colouring agent. It is mixed with other natural dyes and is largely used as hair dye and even for textiles. The oil obtained from its flowers is used in perfumery.