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Henna

Henna (Bangla: মেহেদি | Hindi: मेंदी | Tamil: மருதோன்றி | Telugu: గోరింట | Urdu: نبات الحناء ) also known as hina,is a shrub which is multi branched with spines and leaves grow opposite to each other. The henna plant is native to northern Africa, western and southern Asia, and northern Australasia, in semi-arid zones and tropical areas.

Quick Facts

  • Henna contains hennotannic acid or Lawsone (2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone) a dye that bonds with the collagen in skin cells and keratin of fingernails and hair, leaving behind a red coloring.
  • Henna has been used widely in the production of leather goods. It is used to decorate drum skins, general dying of leather and for coloring cloth.
  • One of its main properties is that of a cooling agent. It is for this reason that henna is applied to burns and scrapes and is often used to treat heat exhaustion and to bring down the fever of a sick person.
  • It may also be applied to the skin to treat a variety of rashes including athlete’s foot and ringworm as it has anti-fungal properties.
  • Henna flowers have been used to create perfume since ancient times.
  • Henna repels some insect pests and mildew.
  • Henna ( Mehandi) has been used in beauty rituals and customs from time immemorial.
  • It is used for its moisturizing and sun protecting properties as well as a hair dye, and its ability to transform the skin with red patterns.
  • Henna is used in many countries and cultures, especially in Weddings, Its main use is the adornment of the bride’s hands and feet in patterns before the marriage ceremony.
  • It is considered to ward off evil, protect from the evil eye, impart good luck and generally be auspicious in nature due to its red coloring so applied by women during festivals and celebrations.
  • Henna has been used for centuries by many types of people. With each new introduction of place and time, the customs have transformed to suit the needs of the people.
  • In South Asian weddings the ‘Mehandi Night’ is an important pre-wedding function, attended by all the women relations and friends of the bride.
  • It is believed that the deeper the color of the mehandi on the bride’s hands, the stronger the love between husband and wife.
  • During the Hindu festival of ‘karva chauth’ each year, married women apply henna, dress up in all their finery and renew their marriage vows. It is a custom that the bride is not permitted to do any housework as long as the bridal henna pattern has not faded.
  • Many theological references to henna exist throughout the world. Basically, anywhere that has a period of hot dry weather and a history of goddess worship has utilized henna.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Myrtales
  • Family: Lythraceae
  • Genus: Lawsonia
  • Species: L.inermis


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