Common Name : Henna
Plant Parts Used : Leaves
A middle sized or large, much-branched shrub, sometimes tree-like, branches 4 angled, usually ending in a sharp point. Leaves opposite, 2-3 cm long, often acute and sharp-pointed. Flowers small, white or pinkish, fragrant, in terminal large bunches. Fruit small, size of a pea, round; seeds many.
Characteristics and Constituents :
The leaves of lawsonia alba have certain medicinal properties. They are astringent and are used as a prophylactic against skin diseases. A decoction of leaves is used as gargle in sore throat. The paste of leaves is largely used in Indian homes in headache, burning sensation in feet, etc.
The leaves have also been shown to have some action against tubercular and other bacteria, and in typhoid and haemorrhagia. The plant has not, however, so far been put to much use in this manner.
The bark and seeds of the plant are also reported to be used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine.
Actions and Uses :
The chief use of the Henna plant is as pleasant orange dye for colouring palms, nails, feet, hair, beard, even tails and limbs of animals. Henna, mixed with other natural dyes, is largely used as hairdye and even for textiles.
The oil obtained from its flowers is used in perfumery.