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  • LAWSONIA INERMIS

    Botanical Information
      Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
      Superdivision: Spermatophyta
      Division: Magnoliophyta
      Class: Magnoliopsida
      Subclass: Rosidae
      Order: Myrtales
      Family: Lythraceae
      Genus: Lawsonia L
      Species: Lawsonia Inermis L

    Origin and Geographical Distribution
    Lawsonia Inermis is native throughout the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent. It flourishes in sunny positions in heavy soils that hold moisture well - though it will grow almost anywhere in these regions. These days it is also widely cultivated in China, The West Indies and Australia as well as in its native countries.

    Description
    Lawsonia Inermis is a heavily scented evergreen shrub-like tree. It grows up to 6 meters in height (20 feet) and has abundant branches. Its many leaves are narrow and pointed, and its pink and cream flowers are small, growing in clusters. When in fruit, tiny blue/black berries are produced. The leaves contain the active colouring ingredient Lawsone.

    Propagation Lawsonia Inermis does grow wild throughout its native countries, and is also a common tree found in gardens and villages. However these days it is mainly cultivated on a large scale as it is a valuable cash crop. It is a perennial plant, and with the exception of the initial year, it can be harvested twice a year in April/May and October/November. Initial yields are low, but increase to around 1,700kg per hectare, and up to 2,000kg per irrigated hectare. For a good crop with a high Lawsone content in the leaves a temperature of around 25 degrees C is required, henna grown in lower temperatures may look the same, but will be produce far inferior quality henna powder, with a poor colour content. It is also important to dry the leaves fast and out of direct sunlight, to retain the colouring properties. It is after all the lawsone content that drives the market for this valuable cash crop, local people have used henna powder, chiefly as a cosmetic for thousands of years, hence its dispersal throughout North Africa, The Middle East & the Indian Subcontinent.

    Biochemistry
    The Key biochemicals of Lawsonia Inermis are; Lawsone (2-hydroxy 1,4 - napthaquinone), Tannin, Behenic Acid, Arachidic Acid, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid

    Scientific Name Preferred Scientific Name: Lawsonia Inermis L

    Other Scientific Names
    Lawsonia alba Lam.

    Trade Name
    Henna

    Most Popular Common Names
    Arabic; Henna, Henne, Hine, Hina, Hene, Heni
    Pakistan, India & Bangladesh; Mendhi, Mehndi, Mehendi

    Some Lesser Known Common Names
    Burmese; Dan
    Creole; Ene, Fl Jalouzi
    English; Camphire, Egyptian Privet, Mignonette, Zanzibar Bark
    Filipino; Cinamomo
    French; Henn, Jalousie, Rsda de France
    Indonesian; Inai, Pacar Kuku
    Javanese; Pacar Kuku
    Kashmir; Mohuz
    Khmer; Krpn
    Lao (Sino-Tibetan); Kaaw
    Malay; Inai, Pacar Kuku
    Sanskrit; Mendika, Ragangi, Raktgarbha
    Somali; Erip
    Spanish; Resed
    Swahili; Mheni, Mhina, Mkokoa, Mkokoa Muhina, Muina
    Tamil; Marithondi, Maruthani
    Thai; Thian Daeng, Thian Khaao, Thian King
    Tigrigna; Elam
    Vietnamese; L Mn, Nhum Mng Tay

    Uses
    Leaves treasured as a valuable source of natural dye.

      Used cosmetically to decorate the skin; chiefly hands and feet of women.
      Used to decorate fabrics and other natural materials.

    Leaves Containing antiseptic, antibiotic and astringent properties, are used in infusions, decoctions, poultices and ointments in traditional medicines.

      To treat such ailments as; general headaches, epilepsy, tetanus, leprosy, jaundice, scurvy, beriberi, various skin and nail conditions (from athletes foot to herpes), open wounds, ulcers and lesions.

    Flowers high in beta-ionone, a treasured olfactory ingredient.

      Used in the manufacture of perfumes.
      Used in the manufacture of scented oils & incense.

    Flowers used in traditional medicines.

      To treat such ailments as; epilepsy and tetanus, general stomach pains and insomnia

    Fruit a treasured olfactory ingredient

      Used in the manufacture of perfumes.
      Used in the manufacture of scented oils & incense.

    Fruit used in traditional medicines

      To treat such ailments as; excema and various skin conditions

    Wood a by-product of cultivation for cosmetic cash crop

      Timber; as the wood is very thin in diameter, it has little use. It can be used for firewood and basic timber needs like fencing.

    Bark can be used in traditional medicines.

      To treat such ailments as; jaundice, excema and fungal infections

    Roots can be used in traditional medicines.

      To treat such ailments as; eye disease and skin various skin conditions
      Are used as a diuretic and are also believed to have fertility enhancing properties




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