About Henna

The word “henna” has a few different meanings.  Henna can act as a noun or a verb.  Henna as a noun can reference the “henna” shrub which is also know by its Latin name of "Lawsonia Inermis".  Henna can also reference the dried powdered leaves of the shrub.  In addition, henna can also behave as a verb as in to henna someone or henna a specific design, like a paisley.  

Henna has different names in other languages.  Just to name a few for example: Mehndi or Mendhi in Hindi and Heena, Hinna, or Alhinna in Arabic.  The henna shrub thrives in arid climates and can be found growing along the Mediterranean and parts of Asia.  The naturally occurring dye in the shrub, which is called lawsone, can be found in the vein of the leaf of a mature shrub.  The leaves are harvested, dried, and crushed into a fine green powder.   



The powder can then be mixed with a slightly acidic component that is safe for the skin (like lemon or lime juice) which breaks down the cellulose of the plant and releases the hennotannic acid in the lawsone.  The addition of sugar helps to keep the paste more elastic to keep flaking to a minimum when the paste dries and essential oils boost the stain and add a therapeutic aroma.

Below are pictures of my own henna shrubs growing on my back patio in South East Florida.  The blooms are delicate and have a uniquely wonderful clean & floral fragrance - similiar to a white tea and jasmine blend.


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