Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lawsonia inermis L.

Family : Lythraceae

Synonym(s) : Lawsonia alba Lam. Lawsonia spinosa L.

English Name : Henna, Henne, Al-Khanna, Al-Henna, Jamaica Mignonette, Mehndi, Mendee, Egyptian Privet and Smooth Lawsonia

Origin : North Africa, Asia and Australia

A much-branched shrub or small tree up to 7 m tall with greyish-brown bark; branches quadrangular, spines (modified branchlets) sometimes present, up to 3.5 cm long. Leaves opposite, sessile, elliptic-ovate or broadly lanceolate, 1 to 8.5 cm long and 0.2 to 3.8 cm wide, apex acute, apiculate or occasionally rounded, base cuneate, margins entire. Flowers numerous, small, white or rose-coloured, fragrant, in terminal, pyramidal, panicled cymes 3 to 25 cm long; pedicels short, slender. Fruit (capsule) globose, purplish-green to brownish when ripe, 6 to 7 mm in diameter, containing numerous, pyramidal, smooth seeds 2.5 mm long.

Arid parts of India; Egypt, Kurdistan, Levant, Persia and Syria.

Parts Used : Flower, leaf, bark, fruit and plant

Herb Effects
Antiinflammatory and antibacterial (leaf); antifungal (plant); astringent and sedative.

Active Ingredients
Betulin, xanthones, coumarins (plant); beta-sitosterol, esculetin, gallic acid, glucosides, lawsone, luteolin, laxanthones I and II, scopoletin (leaf); linolenic acid (seed).

Medicinal Use
As an emmenagogue, in aching joints, bee stings, boils, burns, candida, condyloma, dermatosis, fever, headache, herpes, hoarseness, hysteria, jaundice, leucorrhea, myalgia, ophthalmia, parturition, spermatorrhea rheumatism, skin irritation, sores, stomach. The leaves and seeds are used in the form of juice, decoction and powder to treat consumption, diabetes and intrinsic haemorrhage. Paste of the leaves are applied externally in case of skin diseases, fungal infections, cracks on feet. It is employed both internally and locally in jaundice, leprosy, smallpox, and affections of the skin. The fruit has emmenagogue properties. The bark is useful in treating jaundice and enlargement of spleen, calculous affection, as alterative and in skin diseases and leprosy. The leaves are useful in menorrhagia, leucorrhoea and are also applied externally in headache. A decoction of leaves are used as an astringent. The leaf juice mixed with water and sugar is given in spermatorrhoea. The leaves are prophylactic against skin diseases. It is also used for typhoid and haemorrhagic conditions.


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