Henna grows as a shrub with small, brown, capsule-like fruits. Henna has traditionally been used in festivals and celebrations in many parts of the world and in India since olden times, to apply mehendi on the hands, feet, arms and legs especially during weddings and festivals. Widely known for it’s use in hair dye also, it is popular all over India and is slowly gaining popularity in the West as well.
Henna has been used in hair dyes, cosmetic products and hair products to provide a bright red colour to the hair without damaging it as it is a wonderful conditioner for hair, making it thick, shiny and more manageable. It restores the natural acid-alkaline balance of the scalp. Being a natural cleanser it does not alter the chemical structure of the hair.
Henna flowers are used to make perfume.
Since ancient times henna has also been used to dye wool, silk as well as leather. It is used in the preservartion of cloth and leather.
It also repels some insects and mildew. Placing henna flowers between folds of woolen cloth helps to keep moths away.
Henna has anthelmintic, expectorant, tonic, antiviral, diuretic, anti toxic, anti- bacterial, laxative and anti fungal properties.
It promotes hair growth, relieves bronchitis, asthma,
Traditionally henna has been used to treat burns blisters and other skin conditions, headache and migraine, jaundice, amoebic dysentery, stomach and intestinal ulcers, enlarged spleen and even cancer.
Henna acts as a good sunscreen, it is also applied to treat dandruff, fungal infections, eczema and wounds etc.
Henna oil can be used to treat leprosy, headaches, skin disorders, arthritic and rheumatic pains.
Headache-Henna is considered to be a highly beneficial medicinal plant and hence the bark of the henna plant is known to be effective in the treatment of the enlargement of the liver as well as jaundice.
Skin problems- Henna can relieve ringworm as well as athletes foot and it also acts as a sunblock. Since the leaves of the henna plant are astringent in nature they are also used against various skin diseases.
Mouth ulcers-100gms of henna powder in a litre of water can be used to rinse your mouth for instant relief. Chewing henna leaves also helps.
Got boils, rashes, wounds or cuts-Boil henna leaves in water and use it to wash the boils or apply henna paste to the affected area. Henna paste also relieves burning and itching immediately, specially with prickly heat, as it is a well known cooling agent.
Henna also treats warts and herpes.
Henna is safe normally when used externally on hair and skin. Allergic reactions like inflammation of skin and respiratory problems are rare if pure henna is used.
Do not use henna in children under 12 years and those with glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency as it can cause bursting of the red blood cells even when applied on the skin.
It is considered unsafe for oral consumption.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers should also avoid it.