Henna (also called Mehndi or Mehendi) has been observed as art ever since the old ages. Its prevalence over time has taken many forms. It originated over 9000 years back in the culturally rich heritage of India, Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East. Henna has natural cooling properties. People in olden times used to make a paste out of the dried, and crushed Henna leaves to soak their palms and soles of their feet in it to get relief from the scorching heat. Henna has natural cooling properties; this made it useful for the people of the desert. For centuries they have been using Henna to help control their body temperature. As the Henna faded, it left stains. This instilled the idea of using Henna to create patterned stains for decorative purposes. Henna became an embellishment for those who couldn’t afford jewelry. Soon, people realized the healing and rejuvenating benefits of Henna for the hair and skin. They started using it as a natural skin cleanser and healer. Not much later Henna was popularly used as a hair conditioner and dye as well. It was believed that Henna made humans more aware of the Earth’s energies, therefore used by people to become spiritually woke.
Henna is a small tree or shrub, scientifically named Lawsonia Inermis which has a soft, earthy scent with white or reddish flowers. It contains ‘lawsone’ which is a reddish-orange dye that binds to the keratin (a protein) in skin and stains it safely. The quality of Henna determines how deep or pale the colour of the stain would be. Good Henna freshly obtained from hot & dry climates will leave the darkest stains. Over time, manufacturing and export of Henna have made it useful not just for adorning purposes but for a myriad of uses. It is used in raw as well as powdered form. Henna is used by youth very popularly worldwide. Beautiful and intricately designed Henna patterns never go out of style. In India, Henna is considered extremely auspicious. Weddings are a no-go if there is no Henna. The bride’s hand is covered in elegant henna patterns; this is regarded as good fortune. Henna is used excessively in the beauty and cosmetic industry for its nourishing and moisturizing properties. It is used in hair tonics, hair conditioners, hair shampoos, hair dyes, etc. Leading companies use it for it’s exceptional antibacterial and antifungal properties to make different skin products and hair products. Henna possesses therapeutic and beneficial properties; also, this makes it an indispensable source for ayurvedic and herbal practitioners.
Medicinal Uses of Henna
Henna has long been known for its incredible healing qualities. It is usually used topically. In ancient times it was applied to treat headaches, stomach pains, open wounds, fevers, athlete’s foot and even hair loss. Because of its antifungal properties, it was used popularly in ancient Ayurveda medicine. In early Ayurvedic times, Henna was known to prevent loss of water from the body. It was used for smoothening skin and improving blood circulation. Its antimicrobial, astringent, anti-irritant made it useful in skin products like body lotions and moisturizers. Used in hair products like shampoos, hair oils and dyes to promote hair regeneration and stimulate hair growth. Henna plants and flowers have a calming aroma that renders obscure fragrance to apparels used to keep insects away. It is also used in scents and perfumes for its sweet-smelling fragrance.