Natural henna is used as herbal remedy for burns and bruises

Henna for hair

Natural henna (Lawsonia inermis) medicinal herb or Hina is a flowering plant, used since antiquity to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather and wool.  It is from the Lythraceae family and part of the species Lawsonia inerma.  Henna is native to Egypt, India, Persia as well as Syria.

Henna bush: By Thamizhpparithi Maari (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The common names are Henna, Jamaica mignonette, Henna Mehndi, Egyptian privet, Alcanna, Lawsonia inermis and Henna plant. It can be used to make candles, lotion bars, gift baskets, and soap.

The medicinal properties are astringent, emmenagogue, anti-inflammatory, depurative, anodyne, antioxidant, emetic, abortifacient and antimicrobial.

Ancient Egyptians used it as a dye for fingernails.  Mummies have been found with the dye on fingernails. Therefore henna tattoos go way back in history. People extracted a red-brown dye from the leaves for the various dying and designs on the skin. It was a dye for the naval and breast of ancient Egyptians.

Today people use it as a hair dye. Henna for hair is still popular today because the dye can be bought worldwide. The bark may also be dried, made into a powder and also used as dye.

henna herb

I distinctly remembered as a child how it was always a puzzle to me when I saw elderly ladies with jet black hair comparing to those who had remarkable gray hair which accompanied old age.  This may sound humorous, but as I grew and investigated, I realized that they were actually using natural henna to dye their hair.  So the mystery was solved.  Although there are various hair dyes all over now, henna remains a favourite for many.

Many women support henna for hair dye because unlike synthetic dyes, it is natural and free of substances that are harmful and destructive to the hair.  For variation of colours in the hair, it may be mixed with other medicinal herbs.  The active ingredient in this herb is lawsone.

Health benefits of natural henna medicinal herb

It is a popular belief that henna is only used for tattoo and dying of the hair.  However,  that is not entirely true because it can be used as herbal remedy for many ailments.  

The parts used as herbal medicine are the leaves as well as the root. The leaves can be used internally or externally for jaundice, acid reflux, jaundice, leprosy, inflammation of the skin, eczema and other skin ailments. It is also used for headaches, high blood pressure and a tea made from the leaves is useful as a gargle for sore throat. The fruit of henna contains emmenagogue properties.

Not only the henna leaves, root or fruit are used, but henna flowers may also be used as herbal medicine.  The Egyptians use henna to prepare an essential oil as well as an ointment from the flowers, and this is used to massage the joints, which can aid in preventing joint diseases, such as arthritis and rheumatism.  This massage with natural henna ointment will aid in maintaining healthy joints.

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