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  • Geographical Roots

    The Geographical Origins of Henna

    May 29th, 2007

    Henna is known locally throughout the Middle East and North Africa as ‘Henna’ or ‘Hene’ and is known as ‘Mendhi’ or ‘Mehendi’ in India & Pakistan. For a list of lesser known common names click here.

    Henna powder destined for colouring the hair & adorning the skin is made from the crushed leaves of the Henna Plant Lawsonia Inermis, a tall shrub-like plant that thrives in hot and dry climates. Much of the world’s henna powder comes Read the full article »

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    The Many Names Of Henna…

    January 4th, 2007

    Scientific Name Preferred Scientific Name: Lawsonia Inermis L

    Other Scientific Names
    Lawsonia alba Lam. (no longer recognised as the scientific name)

    Trade Name
    Henna Read the full article »

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    The Henna Plant, Propagation and Cultivation

    January 4th, 2007

    Lawsonia Inermis in flower and fruit

    Sweet smelling henna flower, for perfumery.

    Origin and Geographical Distribution
    Lawsonia Inermis is native throughout the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent. It flourishes in sunny positions in heavy soils that hold moisture well – though it will grow almost anywhere in these regions. These days it is also widely cultivated in China, The West Indies and Australia as well as in its native countries.

    Propagation Lawsonia Inermis grows wild throughout its native countries, and is also a common tree found in gardens and villages. However these days it is mainly cultivated on a large scale as it is a valuable cash crop. It is a perennial plant, and with the exception of the initial year, it can be harvested twice a year in April/May and October/November. Initial yields are low, but increase to around 1,700kg per hectare, and up to 2,000kg per irrigated hectare. For a good crop with a high Lawsone content in the leaves a temperature of around 25 degrees C is required, henna grown in lower temperatures may look the same, but will be produce far inferior quality henna powder, with a poor colour content. It is also important to dry the leaves fast and out of direct sunlight, to retain the colouring properties. It is after all the lawsone content that drives the market for this valuable cash crop, local people have used henna powder, chiefly as a cosmetic for thousands of years, hence its dispersal throughout North Africa, The Middle East & the Indian Subcontinent.

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