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Henna in Cosmetics

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Henna in Cosmetics

Vinay KumarVinay Kumar Singh.  
Head-Formulation
Kumar Organic Products Research Centre Pvt. Ltd.,
Bengaluru
Email : formulation_krc@kopresearchcentre.net

Lawsoniainermis or Henna plant, is a plant species from the Lythraceae family. In Western botanical classification, Lythraceae family is a large family of flowering plants (Angiosperms) and has more than 620 species of flowering herbs, bushes and shrubs or small tree with dense branches. It is cultivated for its various parts (stem bark, roots, flowers and seeds) that are used in traditional medicine. It grows in tropical and subtropical areas.

The benefits of Henna (mehendi) are mentioned in abundance in the history of IndianAyurvedic, Siddha, Unani and Chinese medicine. Mehendi has been an essential part of our traditions and it symbolizes fertility. Even though most people associate Henna’s origin with India as it forms an integral tradition of Indian weddings, the origin of Henna using henna for beauty purposes was in Egypt.

The earliest use of Henna was in 1200 BC when it was used to dye the hair and nails of pharaohs. It’s even said that Cleopatra herself used henna to adorn her body. For centuries, mehndi—the art of painting henna on the body—has been believed to bring love, good fortune, prosperity, and protect the wearer against all evil.


Henna, best known as one of the most popular beauty ingredients in India, has been taking care of most of our hair troubles since the times of yore. Women across the country have been taking their mother’s and grandmother’s advice on applying henna to their hair for years, if not centuries and reaping the benefits out of it.
Its popularity in India is due to the cooling effect of the herb which is useful for people in summers.

Henna leaves contain a wealth of botanical nutrients. The dyeing property of Henna is attributed to Lawsone( 2-hydroxy-1, 4-naphthoquinone component, Color Index Number 75480, Natural Orange 6).
Lawsone acts as a semi fast dye for protein fiber and other textile fibers, and it carries several advantages over chemical dyes, especially when it is used in its raw, whole form (as henna leaf paste).
Lawsoniainermis / Mehndi is a herb mentioned in many of the ancient AyurvedicSamhitas. In these texts, Henna is called “Madyantika”. Charaka Samhita records its use in the treatment of several diseases. Acharya Sushruta classifies it as a pita doshahara drug (balances Pitta dosha).


Sushruta Samhita uses Henna as one of the ingredients in the Mahaneelaghrita which is a ghee based preparation suggested for EkaKushta or Psoriasis.
BhavaprakashaNighantu textbook describes Madyantika leaves as diuretic, relieving pain, healing edema and a good cleanser of wounds. The text also describes the properties of henna seeds as a stimulant of the liver. The Henna flowers are beneficial to the heart, induce sleep and promote medhya (intelligence).

Every part of the Henna plant is medicinally rich and useful.
In Ayurveda, Henna is classified as having bitter (tikta) and astringent (kashaya) rasa with pungent (katu) vipaka (post digestive effect). It is cold in veerya or potency (Sheetyaveerya).
Because of these properties it balances both Kapha and Pitta dosha. It is Laghu (light) and Rooksha (drying) in nature.
It is extremely useful to heal skin disease and burning sensation of the skin. Therefore, the leaf paste of Henna is applied as a natural dye or decoration for the hands and feet. It is also useful to soothe burning sensation in the hands and feet, in curing headaches and in healing skin disease like ringworm, scabies, etc.
It is a safe and pitta balancing natural dye when used along with Nilini (Indigoferatinctoria). Internally it can be used to treat a wide variety of disease. It is used to bring down burning sensation in the body, for relieving burning sensation while passing urine, and in dysentery. It is also used to relieve fever, to induce sleep, as a support in heart disease and to reduce or control diarrhoea and internal bleeding.
Henna is originally grown in Asia and the Mediterranean region, but today, it can also be found in the tropical and semi-arid regions around the world. It requires temperatures of 35 to 45 degrees Celsius and grows on deep, sandy soil to ensure optimal production of pigment on the leaves. These leaves are dried and crushed to make a fine powder that provides the reddish brown dye. This powder is mixed with other natural ingredients like black tea to colour the hair.

In commercial agriculture, the leaves and flowers are both prized for their economic value – the flowers are used to create a fragrant Henna extract which is used in perfumery.

Commercial Henna cultivation is concentrated in Pali district in Rajasthan, generating nearly 20,000 tonnes of dried Henna leaf every year. Apart from Pali, some cultivation is seen in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

Apart from being a fabulous ingredient to naturally dye hair, henna is also known to strengthen, condition and nourish the tresses from deep within.The recent surge in the number of people highlighting or dying their hair makes it seem like hair colouring is a recent phenomenon. However, this isn’t true. The art of hair colouring is centuries old! In the ancient times, people simply used plant-drives natural dyes like Henna and Indigo to dye their hair. Among all-natural dyes used across the world, Henna is the most popular.

Henna is useful for both Hair & skin apart from its health benefits.

Henna for Hair & Scalp
1.Henna Maintains Scalp Health
Henna has a cooling effect on the scalp. The antifungal and antimicrobial properties of henna help in maintaining the scalp health by fighting against various scalp issues like dandruff, scalp itchiness, etc. It helps in removing impurities from the hair which further helps in preventing dandruff.
2. Henna Balances PH and Oil production
Not only does henna helps in keeping issues like dandruff at bay, but it is also an excellent ingredient for balancing the pH and oil production of scalp. It helps in removing the excess oils from your hair, unclogging follicles and restoring the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands.
3. Henna Curbs Hair Fall and Boosts Hair Growth
The boosted scalp health, balanced pH levels, and unclogged pores due to henna, help put a stop to hair fall and promote healthy hair growth. Henna not only helps in growing your hair faster but also improves the texture of your hair.Henna also helps reduce premature greying of hair, because it’s loaded with tannins.
4. Henna Strengthens And Repairs Hair
The nutrients in henna help repair hair damage while also nourishing your hair. It helps to seal the hair cuticle which results in hair locks that are more lustrous. This indeed helps in improving hair elasticity.
5. Henna Conditions Hair
Henna helps in building a protective barrier around each one of your hair shafts, locking in the moisture and keeping the hair conditioned. It can be very beneficial when we use it along with other hydrating ingredients. Henna helps in minimizing issues like split ends and hair breakage.Henna contains vitamin E, which helps to soften hair.

Henna for Skin
Anti-aging

Although the antioxidant capacity of henna has not been widely studied, the oil has been proven to be an astringent, which has led some people to use its juice and oil on the skin to reduce the signs of aging and wrinkles, as well as the unsightly appearance of scars and other blemishes. This is complemented by the antiviral and antibacterial effects that can protect the body’s largest organ, skin!

Wound Healing
One of the most notable uses of henna is for protecting the skin against infections and eliminating inflammation. It has been applied to burns, wounds, and scrapes for generations, not only because it can add a protective layer against foreign pathogens and substances, but also because it has natural cooling abilities that literally suck the heat from the skin. This makes it very useful for sunburns, in a similar capacity as aloe vera gel.

Anti-inflammatory
As we age, our joints become more painful as cartilage and muscles deteriorate. This can result in painful inflammation in many different parts of the body. By applying heena oil to the inflamed or affected areas, you can guarantee a healthier and broader range of motion to maintain an active and happy life.
Prickly heat: During summer most of the people especially children and office goers have to undergo the pains and irritation of prickly heat. Mehendi leaves which are smashed well and mixed with pure water to prepare a smooth paste can be excellent treatment for prickly heat.

Henna also improves quality of Nails.
People often forget about maintaining healthy nails, but the cuticles and space under the nails are prime locations for infection and bacterial presence; therefore, treating your nails with henna is a wise choice. Drinking the water in which leaves have been steeped helps prevent nails from cracking and reduce inflammation. Applying a poultice directly to the nail beds can clear up irritation, pain, and infection in the nail beds.

Mehendi for Special Occasions
Henna paste is intricately associated with traditional occasions like marriages, Karvachauth and even Rakhi. The bride’s palms, as well as heels, are decorated with mehndi paste as a major part of a customary ritual.

Even in some religions, an occasion revolving this mehndi applying ceremony is also observed before the final day of the wedding. The scientific reason behind this is the cooling properties of henna which soothes palms, feet and therefore the whole body of the bride. Apart from this mehndi is preferred because of its cleansing properties too.
Henna or Mehendi, apart from adding color to your locks, detoxifies your body, improves nails, boosts hair health, reduces inflammation. Henna is the perfect hidden gem cherished through the eastern culture and making its way to the west.

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