Henna - traditional medicine
Henna features in the Siddha system of medicine. Siddha physicians consider parts of henna to be astringent, detergent, deodorant, cooling and a sedative. Fresh leaves mixed with vinegar or lime juice are bandaged onto the soles of the feet to treat 'burning feet', a symptom of beriberi. Ground leaves are applied to sore joints to ease rheumatism. The juice of the plant can be applied to the skin for headaches, and the oil is applied to hair to prevent it from going grey.
|Image: These partly fragmented henna leaves were acquired at the London drug market around 1898.|
Its flower oil relieves muscular pains, while its seeds are used as a deodorant and to regulate menstruation. Henna flowers induce sleep, cure headaches and bruises. Leprosy has been treated by henna bark, as well as by an extract of leaves, flowers and shoots. The bark has also been used to treat symptoms of jaundice and enlargement of the liver and spleen. It can be applied to the skin to treat eczema, scabies, fungal infections and burns.
Folk medicineIn folk medicine, henna leaves are used as an ointment, decoction or tea. Henna leaves have been used in India to treat wounds, ulcers, mouth ulcers, bruises, sprains, swelling, burns, stomach pain caused by childbirth, sore throats, gonorrhoea, obesity, to promote menstruation and to induce abortion. Fruit oil is a folk remedy used in disorders causing hardening of the liver and diaphragm, and an ointment made from young fruit is used to prevent itching.
This information is provided for general interest only. It is not intended as guidance for medicinal use. Further information on using herbal medicines is available.