Henna is evergreen branched shrub or small tree (2 to 6 m in height). This medicinal herb is native to North Africa and South East Asia and often cultivated as an ornamental plant, as boundary hedges in lawns and gardens. In India, henna is cultivated for commercial use mainly in Haryana and Gujarat and to a lesser extent in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Names of henna
Latin Name: Lawsonia inermis
|Sanskrit: Nil Madayantika, mendika, Madayanti, Ranjaka
Urdu: Mehendi, Hina
Kannada: Goranta, Korate, Madarangi, mayilanchi
Malayalam: Mailanelu, mailanchi
Tamil: Marudum, muruthani
Henna properties and action according to Ayurveda are as follows.
Rasa: Tikta, Kashaya
Guna: Laghu, Ruksha
Karma: Kaphashamak, Pittashamak
Henna leaves contain Glycosides, colouring matter (Lawsone), Hennotannic acid and Essential Oil containing ?-Ionone.
Henna leaves have analgesic, hypoglycaemic, antimalarial, hepatoprotective, nootropic, immuno-stimulant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-parasitic, antitrypanosomal, antidermatophytic, antioxidant, anthelmintic and antifertility properties.
Ayurveda mentions henna is useful in treating fever, leprosy, raktapitta (bleeding disorders), jaundice, mutrakrucchra, dysuria, bhram and skin diseases. The leaf is also recommended in giddiness and vertigo.
Henna leaves are used externally for hair colouring, conditioning and also for skin infections treatment. Its leaves are useful in treating fungal infection of hands and feet. The dosage of fresh leaves juice of henna is 5 to 10 ml.