Henna – Lawsonia Inermis

Hina / Rotantha combretoides / Alcanna spinosa / Mehndi – Lawsonia inermis, also known as hina, the henna tree, the mignonette tree, and the Egyptian privet is a tall shrub or small tree, standing 1.8 to 7.6 m tall. The leaf is used to make medicine. Henna tree (the leaf powder)  is the source of the dye henna used to dye skin, hair and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool and leather. Henna can also refer to the temporary body art resulting from the staining of the skin from the dyes (mehndi). Leaves growing on high branches are used to paint on the skin (mehndi), since they have a stronger coloring ability. The lower leaves are used to color the hair, so they are rubbed more roughly.

Lawsonia has quite strong disinfecting properties, so it is used to treat wounds, sutures, treat dermatological diseases and bone diseases. Historically, henna has been used for severe diarrhea caused by a parasite (amoebic dysentery), cancer, enlarged spleen, headache, jaundice, and skin conditions. These days, people take henna for stomach and intestinal ulcers. Henna is sometimes applied directly to the affected area for dandruff, eczema, scabies, fungal infections, and wounds. The dry leaves of Lawsonia perfectly repel insects. The smell of henna is thought to relieve headaches and increase potency. Don’t confuse henna with henna root (Alkanna tinctoria), also referred to as alkanna root.


– Ulcers in the stomach or intestines.

– Severe diarrhea caused by parasites called amoebas (amoebic dysentery).

– Cancer.

– Enlarged spleen.

– Headache.

– Yellow skin (jaundice).

– Skin conditions, when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.

– Dandruff, when applied to the scalp.

Cautions: Henna is considered to be unsafe when taken by mouth. Accidentally swallowing henna requires prompt medical attention. It can cause stomach upset and other side effects. Henna is considered UNSAFE for use in children, especially in infants. There have been cases of serious side effects when henna was applied to the skin of infants. Infants with a condition called glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency are at especially high risk. Putting henna on the skin of these infants can cause their red blood cells to burst.

Pregnancy or breast-feeding: It’s unsafe to take henna by mouth if you are pregnant. There is some evidence that it might cause a miscarriage. It’s also unsafe to take henna if you are breast-feeding.  If you are allergic to henna, avoid contact.