1253540146image_Mehandi out.jpg BOTANICAL NAME: LAWSONIA INERMIS




Henna is a shrub that can grow up to 7 m high at its tallest, with greyish-brown bark. Its wood is close-grained and hard and is used to make tool handles and tent pegs.

Leaves are used as a skin and hair dye and in traditional medicine. They are almond-shaped, tapering at the end attached to the tree. Flowers are used in traditional medicine and oil for perfumery. They are sweet-scented and creamy-white in colour, in dense clusters at ends of branches. Each flower has 4 greenish-yellow petals, 4 sepals and 8 stamens. Fruits - seeds are used in traditional medicine and oil for perfumery. They are spherical in shape, about the size of a small pea (5-7 mm wide), brown when ripe and contain many little pyramid-shaped seeds.
Punjab-Mehndi, Mendhi
Gujarat-Medi, Mendi
Tamil-Marithondi, Maruthani
Mundari-Mindi, bind
Andhra Pradesh- Gorintaaku



Henna or Hina (Lawsonia inermis, syn. L. Alba) is a flowering plant, the sole species in the genus Lawsonia in the family Lythraceae. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Southern Asia, and northern Australasia in semi-arid zones. Henna is commercially cultivated in western India, Pakistan, Morocco, Yemen, Iran, Sudan and Libya. Presently the Pali district of Rajasthan is the most heavily cultivated henna production area in India.

Henna is a tall shrub or small tree, 2–6 m high. It is glabrous, multibranched with spine tipped branchlets. Leaves are opposite, entire, glabrous, sub-sessile, elliptical, and broadly lanceolate (1.5–5.0 cm x 0.5–2 cm), acuminate, having depressed veins on the dorsal surface. During the onset of precipitation intervals, the plant grows rapidly; putting out new shoots, then growth slows. The leaves gradually yellow and fall during prolonged dry or cool intervals. Henna flowers have four sepals and a 2 mm calyx tube with 3 mm spread lobes. Petals are obviate, white or red stamens inserted in pairs on the rim of the calyx tube. Ovary is four celled, style up to 5 mm long and erect. Fruits are small, brownish capsules, 4–8 mm in diameter, with 32–49 seeds per fruit, and open irregularly into four splits. Lawsone content in leaves is negatively associated with the number of seeds in the fruits.


Extracts with antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties have been taken from the leaves and whole plant of henna. Powdered leaves have been shown to be a treatment for intestinal amoebiasis - a protozoan infection of the intestine, and an extract made from them can cure infections caused by nematode worms. Antimicrobial preparations containing henna have been patented in the UK.

Henna has been used in traditional medicine, wherever it is grown, to treat a vast number of ailments ranging from beriberi to burns and bruises. When Henna is applied to the skin, its active elements provide cooling and astringent action along with protection against many surface fungi and bacteria. Henna can help to lower body temperature to soothe headaches, fevers, burning feet (which may be a B- Vitamin deficiency), and even hysteria or a violent temper.


Siddha medicine was originated in the Tamil-speaking areas of south India, where it is known as cittar. Although it shares aspects of Ayurvedic medicine, its origins are very different. Siddha medicine is rooted in alchemy and magic, and contemporary Siddha blends medicine and mysticism.

Siddha physicians consider parts of henna to be astringent, detergent, deodorant, cooling and a sedative. Fresh leaves mixed with vinegar or lime juice are bandaged onto the soles of the feet to treat \'burning feet\', a symptom of beriberi. Ground leaves are applied to sore joints to ease rheumatism. The juice of the plant can be applied to the skin for headaches, and the oil is applied to hair to prevent it from going grey.

Its flower oil relieves muscular pains, while its seeds are used as a deodorant and to regulate menstruation. Henna flowers induce sleep, cure headaches and bruises. Leprosy has been treated by henna bark, as well as by an extract of leaves, flowers and shoots. The bark has also been used to treat symptoms of jaundice and enlargement of the liver and spleen. It can be applied to the skin to treat eczema, scabies, fungal infections and burns.


The Ayurvedic system uses the henna leaves to treat vitiligo (pale patches on the skin where pigment is lost), and the seeds are used to cure fever.



In folk medicine, henna leaves are used as an ointment, decoction or tea. Henna leaves have been used in India to treat wounds, ulcers, mouth ulcers, bruises, sprains, swelling, burns, and stomach pain caused by childbirth, sore throats, gonorrhoea, and obesity, to promote menstruation and to induce abortion. Fruit oil is a folk remedy used in disorders causing hardening of the liver and diaphragm, and an ointment made from young fruit is used to prevent itching.


Henna has many traditional and commercial uses, the most common being as a dye for hair, skin and fingernails, a dye and preservative for leather and cloth and as an anti-fungal. The United States Food and Drug Administration have not approved henna for direct application to the skin. It is unconditionally approved as a hair dye, and can only be imported for that purpose. Henna is also used to dye designs onto animal skins in India, which are then made into lampshades and sold in Europe.

  1. Good for falling hair.
  2. It is a good conditioner, give luster to the hair.
  3. It strengthens the roots of the hair.   
  4. It turns white pigment to brown.
  5. Good for dandruff.
  6. Good for high blood pressure, migrain.
  7. For heart patients it gives cooling effect.
  8. Good for heart strokes
  9. Good for scanty or rough hair and premed hair, blithered hair.
  10. It stimulate blood circulation
  11. It removes tensions, worry, anxiety, fatigue, cornice, insomnia.
  12. It has a sex appeal also



Henna in India needs a high rainfall as well as a fairly good soil.

Henna, Lawsonia inermis, produces a red-orange dye molecule, Lawsone. This molecule has an affinity for bonding with protein, and thus has been used to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather, silk and wool. Henna\'s indigenous zone is the tropical savannah and tropical arid zone, in latitudes between 15° and 25° N and S from Africa to the western Pacific Rim, and produces highest dye content in temperatures between 35°C and 45°C. It does not thrive where minimum temperatures are below 11°C. Temperatures below 5°C will kill the henna plant. The dye molecule, Lawsone, is primarily concentrated in the leaves, and is in the highest levels in the petioles of the leaf. Products sold as "black henna" or "neutral henna" is not made from true henna, but may be derived from indigo or cassia, and may contain unlisted dyes and chemicals.


Cannot survive outdoors even in the hottest summers. Minimum temperature 22ºC


From seed or semi-hardwood cuttings and offsets

India, Pakistan, the Yemen, Morocco, Egypt, Iran and the Sudan are the main growers and exporters of henna. Large quantities of henna are produced at home for the local market, and much smaller quantities sold on the international market. For instance, only half of the 15,000 metric tones of leaves produced in Pakistan each year is sold abroad, the rest is consumed within Pakistan. Henna is normally cultivated in rows like small hedges. Two or three crops a year are usually harvested from the plants in April-May, August and October-November. The leaves, flowers and buds are harvested by cutting the shoots off the plant, which may continue to produce a crop for between 6-12 years. One hectare of land can produce 1,000-1,500 kg of leaves.

The quality of henna varies depending on the strength of colour it gives; the area where it was grown; how pure it is (sometimes it contains old leaves and leaf stalks or is contaminated with dust or other material to bulk it out); and how finely ground it is. The best quality henna, often known as Mehndi, is used for dyeing the skin. It is known as grade 1, which is triple ground and sifted. Grade 3 is coarser, and used in hair products because hair is porous and soaks up colour much more easily than skin. The best quality can be twice as expensive as other types.


Steroidal glycosides viz.; SN-1, SN-2 & SN-3 showed inhibition of tumour cells of human uterus1, whereas steroidal glycosides viz.; B2-solamargine, solamargine and degalactotigonin exhibited antineoplastic activity. Apart from this, different extracts of the various pan of the plant also show neuropharmacological activity, antiulcerogenic activity and anti-microbial activity.


Only available as seed


There are no safety concerns


Once harvested, henna needs to be stored in the cool and out of sunlight. It\'s easy to tell whether henna powder has been exposed to light because it turns brown. Dishonest exporters have been known to add dye to make it look greener that it is, but traders can test its quality by checking how much of the main pigment (Lawsone) exists, or seeing whether it has been contaminated with other plants like castor bean leaf, or microbes such as Salmonella.

The demand for henna has certainly grown in Europe and North America over the past few years. About 5 metric tonnes are imported into the UK each year, as either loose powder, or pre-packaged, for cosmetics, hair dyes and to decorate animal skin for making drums and light shades. To keep up with demand, growers are increasing their production.


Lawsone and Isoplumbagin have shown anticancer activity and have protected sickle cells against membrane damage.