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Henna Dye - Origin, uses, chemistry and allergic reactions

SpecialChem / Vispi Kanga – Jan 2, 2008

Henna or Hina (Lawsonia inermis, syn. L. alba) is a flowering tall shrub, 2-6m high. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of southern Asia, Africa and northern Australasia. Pure or green Henna is commercially cultivated in western India, Pakistan, Morocco, Yemen, Iran, Sudan and Libya. In the Bible's Song of Songs and Song of Solomon, henna is referred to as Camphire. Henna was considered to be a healing, medicinal herb by the ancient Egyptians. It was used as a cooling, astringent, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial herb for the skin and hair. In the Indian subcontinent, there are many variant words such as Mehndi in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In the Arabic speaking countries the word is "hina". Henna has many traditional and commercial uses, the most common being as a dye for hair, skin and fingernails, as a dye and preservative for leather and cloth, and as an anti-fungal. Henna was used as a hair dye in Indian court records around 400 CE, in Rome during the Roman Empire, and in Spain during Convivienca.

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