Henna, Mehndi Benefits, Usage, Research, Side Effects

Madayantika- Lawsonia inermis Linn. is an Ayurvedic herb used for the treatment of fever, dysuria, jaundice, ulcers, bleeding disorders and skin diseases. 
Latin Name- Lawsonia inermis Linn.
Family- Lythraceae (Madayantika kula)

Henna plant

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name – Mehandi
English name – Henna, Mignonette tree
Bengali name – Mehedi
Kannada name – Manjha
Malayalam name – Mailanchi
Telugu name – Gorintaka
Tamil name – Aivanam

Sanskrit Synonyms

Madayanti, Mallika, Modayani
Henna is a plant found and cultivated all over India, growing up to a height of 4-6 m. The plant is a native of Arabia and Persia.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Lythraceae
Genus: Lawsonia
Species: L. inermis

Lawsonia inermis with flower and leaves

Properties, part used, dosage

Mehndi medicinal Properties:
Rasa (taste) – Tikta (Bitter), Kashaya (Astringent)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (Light to digest), Ruksha (Dryness)
Vipaka- Katu (undergoes pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Effect on Tridosha – Kapha Pitta hara (reduces vitiated kapha and pitta dosha) , Kandughna (reduces itching sensation)
Pharmacological action – Diuretic, Emetic, Expectorant, Styptic, Haematenic, Liver tonic
Part used- Leaf, flower, seeds
Fresh juice- 5-10 ml
Seed powder- 1-3 g

 Mehendi powder leaves


Branched shrub , lateral branches ending with spine
Leaves – Simple, opposite, entire, lanceolate, petioles are very short or absent
Inflorescence – Large, pyramidal panicled cyme
Flowers – White or rose coloured
Fruits – Globose capsules, with numerous seeds

Chemical constituents

The leaves of the plant Lawsonia inermis contain lawsone, coumarins, flavonoids, luteolin and its 7-O-glucoside, beta sitosterol- 3-O-glucoside. Tannin is found in all parts of the plant. The plant also contains gallic acid, glucose, mannitol and mucilage.

Uses of Madayantika

  • The paste of the leaves of Lawsonia inermis is applied over the localized area to get relief from headache, burning sensation of the extremities and pain in the joints of the body.
  • The paste of madayantika plant is applied to get relief from localized swelling, tenderness and pain.
  • Gargling is done using the decoction prepared from the leaves of Lawsonia inermis to get relief from pain in the throat region and oral cavity.
  • Cold infusion of the fruits of the plant Lawsonia inermis is given in a dose of 50- 60 ml in divided dose to treat insomnia.
  • The decoction of the flower of the plant is given in a dose of 40-50 ml in divided dose as a memory booster in persons suffering with low I.Q.
  • The powder or paste of the seeds of the madayantika plant is given to treat diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • The decoction of the leaves of the plant is given in a dose of 40-50 ml to treat various skin diseases.
  • The fresh juice of the leaves is mixed with sugar candy and given in a dose of 10-15 ml to treat burning micturition and mixed urine.
  • The cold infusion of the flowers is given in a dose of about 50-60 ml to treat fever.
  • The paste of the leaves of Lawsonia inermis is applied locally to treat skin diseases and gonorrhea.
  • Decoction from the bark of the plant is administered in patients suffering from jaundice and enlarged liver, in a dose of 50-60 ml in a divided dose.
  • The paste of the leaves is used for cosmetics- to color the hair, as a coloring agent to paint the hands and legs.
  • Henna has been used since antiquity to dye skin, hair and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool and leather.

Sanskrit verse, uses, indications

Lawsonia inermis medicinal uses

Indications and usage as per Ayurveda:
Laghu – light to digest
Rooksha – dry
Indicated in –
Kushta – skin diseases
Jwara – fever
Kandu – itching, pruritus
Daha –  burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc
Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Kamala – Jaundice, Liver diseases
Raktatisara – Ulcerative colitis
Hrudroga – Cardiac disorders
Mutrakruchra – Dysuria
Bhrama – Delusion, Dizziness
Vrana – Ulcers, wounds

Mehndi leaves

Ayurvedic formulations

Formulations containing Madayantika:
Maha panchagavya Ghrita: This is an Ayurvedic medicine in Ghee form and is given in the treatment of Apasmara (Epilepsy), Unmada (Insanity), Arshas (Piles), Pandu (Anemia). It is also given in Snehana (oleation) karma before Panchakarma proceedures of Vamana and Virechana.

Dah-Hun hot water mix: Dah-Hun Hot Water Mix is used for the treatment of excess pitta in the body. It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine manufactured by Everest Ayurveda pharma, Thrissur, Kerala.
Various commercially available hair coloring cosmetic products contain madayantika as an ingredient.

Research, adverse effects

Research articles on Madayantika:
Anti- ulcer potential of leaves: To evaluate antiulcer effects of aqueous, chloroform and ethanol extracts prepared from the henna leaves in rats employing the pylorus ligation and aspirin induced models. . The results indicated that aqueous, ethanol and chloroform extract significantly (p<0.001) decreased the volume of gastric acid secretions, free acidity and total acidity and ulcer index.

The antibacterial activities of hexane, chloroform, methanol extracts of the leavesLawsonia inermis(Henna) was evaluated on bacterial strains like Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Streptococcus aureus , Streptococcus mutans , Micrococcus , Streptococcus salivarius , Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus gordonii. This study conclude that the methanol extract of leaf Lawsonia inermis showed more significant activity against all tested bacterial organisms than that of the hexane and chloroform extracts.

Anti microbial activity: The antimicrobial activity of Lawsonia inermis, Mimosa pudica, Cestrum diurnum and Solanum xanthocarpum was determined by agar disc diffusion method against five strains of microbes: Bacillus pumilus, Micrococcus luteus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeroginosa and Candida albicans. All the selected plants exhibited antimicrobialactivity but the degree of their potency varied.The results showed that Cestrum diurnum and Mimosa pudica showedmore antimicrobial activity as compared to Lawsonia inermis and Solanum xanthocarpum.

No adverse effects have been known about the madayantika plant.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.
Click to consult Dr BK Prashanth MD (Ayu), PhD

Henna Home Remedies

Ayurveda explains about analgesic, cholagogue and anti inflammatory properties. It is a laxative and appetizer.
Read related: Henna, Mehndi Benefits, Usage, Research, Side Effects

Effective Henna home remedies:

Graying of hair

1. Henna powder application and rinsing of hair in greyness of hair:
Mature leaves are made into fine paste. According to the need liquorice (Yastimadhu), Indigofera tinctoria (neelini), Amla etc. are also added while applying this to the scalp,to get the added benefits.
This is suitable to those who have hair dye allergy and to get long term health benefits to the scalp. In addition it has a cooling effect and prevents hair from thinning and falling off.


2. Henna leaf juice with sugar candy in Dysuria and burning urination:
10-15 ml of fresh juice of leaves is added with
3-5 gram of sugar and
10-15 ml of fresh juice of Durva (Cynodon dactylon Linn.)
This juice mix is administered in a dose of 15 ml, 2 times a day. It relieves burning urination and difficulty in passing the urine.

Constipation, abdominal distension

5 – 10 grams of henna leaves and 5 – 10 grams of raisins are taken and fine paste is made.
This is administered at night, after food in a dose of 10 – 20 grams.

This helps to pass the bowel freely and to relieve distention of the abdomen. In burping and gurgling, half a teaspoonful of fennel and cumin seeds are added to this and taken at night.

For healthy hair

4. Henna and Triphala powder for silky and lustrous dark hair:
Equal amounts of Triphala and henna are taken and fine powder is made.
This is administered orally in a dose of 3-5 grams, once or twice a day. This helps to achieve lustrous silky hair and bright eyes.

Itchy scalp, split hairs

5. Liquorice and henna powder hair wash for boils, itching of scalp and splitting of hair:
50 grams of each liquorice(Yastimadhu-Glycciriza glabra) and henna are taken and soaked in 2 liters of cold water. Next morning, this is macerated well and filtered gently. This is used to rinse the hair. It is found to be very effective in case of boils or blisters of scalp, itching of scalp and splitting of the hair.


6. Henna and d Phyllanthus(Phyllanthus indica or Phyllanthus amarus) whole plant juice for jaundice:
1 fist full of Henna and Phyllanthus indica are taken and pounded with 10 grams of cumin seeds. This helps to mask the peculiar smell. Fresh juice is extracted and filtered. This, in a dose of 1- – 15 ml, is administered along with sweet buttermilk in the morning, on empty stomach. This remedy acts as a carminative, digestive and cholagogue. It relieves jaundice.

Hair care oil

7. Traditional oil for hair care using henna:
10 gram each of Fenugreek seeds , Gunja (Abrus precatorius-leaves), amla (Emblica officinalis – dried fruit rind) and 30 gram of henna (fresh leaf) are taken together and cooked with 200 ml of sesame oil, in mild intensity of heat.

This oil can be used to apply to the scalp regularly. This is a traditional hair oil used for several decades in our family.

Henna plant is the queen of cosmetics, especially in hair care products and traditional Mehendi applications. Traditional practices and healthcare  are closely related to one another and usage of henna is a good example in this respect.

Sthanika Karma (Systemic Action)

External Application – Reduce pain, itching, inflammation, burning sensation etc. Cleanses wounds and promotes healing. Good for hair, improves complexion, indicated in skin disorders. Its leaf paste is beneficial in Burning sensation of hands and feet, headache and in joint swelling. It can be used as hair dye.

Internal administration-
Nervous system – Flower promote intellect, indicated in insomnia
Digestive System – Seed has sthambaka property. leaf is liver stimulant and is indicated in jaundice. Seed paste is indicated in bleeding disorders.
Circulatory System – Flower is Hridya (good for heart) blood purifier and styptic. Leaf juice is indicated in edema. Hot infusion of flowers is beneficial in heart diseases .Leaf decoction is indicated in bleeding disorders.
Excretory system – Leaf juice along with sugar is indicated in Dysuria, UTI etc.
Tvak (Skin) – Leaf decoction is indicated in skin diseases
Tapakrama – Bark is beneficial in fever, reduce burning sensation

2 comments on “Henna, Mehndi Benefits, Usage, Research, Side Effects

  • serenecompassion

    11/08/2016 - 10:28 pm

    How can you tell which henna are better quality than others since nowadays almost everything is processed and/or commercialized?

    Reply to comment
  • V

    27/12/2017 - 6:55 pm

    Is ayur henna powder and godrej nupur henna pure?? Please suggest a good conditioning natural hair dye mask to cover the greys and make dry hair into silky soft.

    Reply to comment

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