The word henna or mehndi refers both to the plant and the paste made out of the leaves for dyeing. The botanical name of henna is Lawsonia inermis and you can find henna plant growing all over India. It is a small shrub with pointed narrow leaves and fragrant white flowers.
I have always preferred to use fresh henna leaves for all the treatments as we have a henna tree in our farm. In fact you will find henna tree in almost all the village homes. Using fresh henna leaves is such a joy, I love the smell of freshly ground henna leaves and I would suggest applying fresh henna paste instead of henna powder at least once to see the benefits it offers.
How We Use Henna At Home:
I have seen my grandma’s and aunt’s use henna when I was growing up both as a hair treatment and also as a mehndi for hands, now I continue to do the same. When I was younger, my sister and I used to love applying traditional mehndi made out of fresh mehandi leaves ground along with betel nut and lemon juice.
We used to apply the mehndi paste and wait impatiently for it to dry so we can wash it off our hands to see whose hand was more colored. Applying traditional mehndi makes our hands smell very nice and it also prevents nail infections very very effectively. Though I enjoy the beautiful intricate designs made out of henna powder, the traditional way of applying mehndi will always remain my favorite.
Henna Hair Benefits:
1. Henna as a Hair Dye:
2. Henna as a Hair Conditioner:
3. Henna For Hair Growth:
4. Henna For Scalp Infections:
5. Henna For Reducing Anxiety & Stress:
Where To Get Henna?
We can get henna powder easily in all the departmental stores in India. Always make sure to buy pure natural henna powder without any additions. Since we have henna plant, I always prefer to use the fresh leaves. But if I do want to buy henna powder, I buy it from a local herb shop.
Henna Side Effects:
We have been applying fresh henna paste from so many years now and I have not seen a single person being allergic to it. But henna dyes especially black henna dye which is a paste made out of henna powder and chemical dyes can cause lot of allergies.
In fact I was very very shocked when I saw a photo of the person who developed a serious allergy after using the black mehndi paste. I would suggest not using henna powder mixed with chemical dyes and always make sure to find out about the ingredients in the henna paste your are applying.
Though it might look appealing, henna powder mixed with chemical dyes can cause lot of harm. If at all you want to to apply it, please do a patch test before applying.
At Home Treatments Using Henna:
1. Henna Hair Mask:
This homemade dandruff hair mask made with fresh henna leaves and neem leaves can be safely used by everyone and it is very effective to get rid of dandruff effectively. To make the hair mask, take equal quantities of henna and neem leaves and grind together with thick homemade yogurt and a tbsp of coconut oil into a thick paste. This hair mask should be used regularly, at least weekly once to get good results.
2. Henna Hair Dye With Fresh Leaves:
This hair dye is made with fresh henna leaves and aloe vera is very conditioning and is very good for hair streaks. To make this home made hair dye, collect fresh henna leaves, separate the leaves from the stalk. Take a fresh aloe vera leaf and cut the thorns from both sides and cut them into pieces. Grind both together well and apply on the desired hair area. Wait for at least half an hour before washing your hair.
3. Henna Hair Rinse:
Henna leaves if boiled along with fresh amla and used as a hair rinse is wonderful in bringing back the lost sheen to an otherwise a dull hair. Henna hair rinse locks in the natural oils and helps to keep the hair healthy and shiny. To make the rinse, boil a handful of fresh henna leaves and 2 or 3 amla. Strain and use it as a hair rinse, this will help give your hair a wonderful shine.
4. Henna Hair Oil:
This traditional henna hair oil made with henna leaves and coconut oil is very good for the hair. Regular scalp massage with this hair oil will arrest hair fall and stimulate new hair growth. This oil can be used as a daily application oil or as a hair massage oil or as a pre shampoo treatment. After this hair treatment, you will feel very refreshed and your hair will be very soft and manageable. You will also get deep sleep that day because of the massage which will relax and refresh you. You can find the recipe for it here.
5. Henna Powder Hair Dye:
Henna can be made either with fresh leaves or using the powder, this recipe is with the powder. When buying the powder, make sure to buy the henna powder that is pure and one that does not have any other additives to it. Henna paste stains so make sure to wear gloves if you don’t want it to stain your fingers. Henna looks different on each and every person. If you are trying out henna for the first time, make sure not to try it before any special occasions as henna color does not remove easily from the hair. You can find the recipe for it here.