HENNA (Lawsonia inermis Linn)

Henna is a very popular, smooth, hairless and much-branched shrub that belongs to the plant family Lythraceae. The leaves are 1.3-3.2 cm. long. They are lanceolate, acute, with a sharp point and a tapering base. The flowers are numerous, less than 1.3 cm. across, fragrant and white or pink in color in large terminal cymes. The capsule containing many seeds is 6 mm. in diameter, globose, supported by a persistent calyx and tipped with the style. Henna is popular with the women in India and is often used as a fragrant orange dye to color the palms, nails, feet and hair. Some men use it to dye their beards. It is cultivated in large-scale plantations as a commercial dye crop in India, Australia, Sudan, Iran, Egypt and Pakistan.

Medicinal Use

– Corns.
– Athlete’s foot, a fungal infection.
– Jaundice.
– Hair loss.
– Leprosy—early stages.
– Ringworm.
– Leucoderma.
– Weeping eczema.
– Sore throat.
– Haemorrhoids or Piles.

How to Use

    •  For the problem of corns on the toes, grind a handful of henna leaves into a very fine paste along with 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric powder (Curcuma domestica) and calamus (Acarus calamus) root. Apply this paste on the affected areas at bedtime. Use this paste until the corns disappear.
    • For athlete’s foot, take 1-2 tablespoon of the finely ground paste of henna leaves along with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Mix this in 1-2 teaspoon of gingelly oil. Apply the paste on the affected toes.
    • To treat Jaundice, soak 2 to 5 tablespoons of the powdered bark of the root in a 2 liter container of water and drink from it frequently.
    • For hair loss, boil two cups of gingelly or coconut oil. When the oil is very hot, add a handful of henna leaves and allow it to splutter till it becomes red. Remove the burnt leaves from the oil and repeat the prcess three more times. Then allow the oil to cool and store in a bottle. Massage the head with this oil twice a day.
    • For early stages of leprosy, take equal quantities of the juices of the tender leaves and flowers. Boil this mixture till the volume is reduced by half. Use 2-3 teaspoons three times a day.
    • To take care of ringworm that is caused by a fungus, grind a handful of cleaned leaves along with 1-2 teaspoon of mild soap powder into a very fine paste. Apply this on the affected areas and leave it on for at least half an hour followed by a cold­water bath.
    • For Leucoderma, grind the bark of the root with milk and apply on the affected areas.
    • For weeping eczema, powder 2-3 tablespoons of the bark of the root and mix into it 4-5 tablespoons of coconut oil and store. Before application, add 1 teaspoon of castor oil (Recinus communis) and wait for an hour before applying it onto the affected parts.
    • For sore throat, boil 1-2 tablespoons of the leaves in 1 tumbler of water. Filter and use the decoction for gargling frequently.
    • To take care of Haemorrhoids or Piles, grind 1-2 teaspoon of cleaned henna leaves in 1-tumbler of water. Strain and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Drink ‘h tumbler of this decoction twice a day.


Parts Used

Root bark, flowers and leaves. 

   As recommended above.

-By Dr. Joy Kurian

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