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Henna- Hair Dye Extraordinaire!

Jan 23, 2008
The primary use of Henna (lawsonia inermis) today is as ornamental hedges, but it is probably best known for the dried, ground leaves it produces containing a red-orange dye molecule which is known as lawsone, traditionally used to create colour-fast orange, red and brown dyes. The actual staining properties are derived from the compound 2-hydroxy-1, 4-naphthoquinone (this is the lawsone), hennotannic acid, or natural orange 6.

It is a tall shrub or small tree, growing from 2-6 meters high which produces flowers that have four sepals and a 2 mm calyx tube. Henna's indigenous zone is the tropical savannah and tropical arid zone, in latitudes between 15 and 25 degrees N and S from Africa to the western Pacific Rim and produces its highest dye content in temperatures of between 35C and 45C.

Henna has many traditional and commercial uses, the most common being as a dye for hair, skin and fingernails, as a dye and preservative for leather and cloth, and as an anti-fungal.

It has been used to adorn young women's bodies as part of social and holiday celebrations since the late Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean area and it has been traced back to the ancient Egyptian queens of Cleopatra and Nefertiti who used it to enhance their hair colour, colour their lips and also colour their nails. Even today in some cultures, Henna symbolises prosperity, fertility, happiness, fortune, seduction and beauty.

Henna has many medicinal properties and has been used in India, for example, as such for several centuries. Having antiseptic, astringent, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, Henna as a paste mixture is often used on, or for bruises, burns, athlete's foot, fever, to help lower body temperature and headaches. Some of the stranger uses in some cultures have been using it for quelling hysteria or a violent temper.

Some other interesting uses of Henna are that it can repel some insect pests and mildew and also can be used to decorate candles, baskets, picture frames, lamp shades, curtains, jeans and purses.

Henna tattooing has been popular among young women for thousands of years and continues to grow in popularity even today. Henna body art is made by applying henna paste to the skin after which the lawsone in the paste migrates into the outermost layer of the skin producing a red-brown stain.

Henna is also often used as a hair dye as well as treatment for scalp problems such as dandruff, to increase hair growth and reduce hair loss. Henna hair dye is completely natural and safe and is a perfect alternative hair dye to use especially during pregnancy, as it is made from natural vegetable dyes as opposed to chemical dyes and unlike many chemical hair dyes, henna does not contain bio-available lead acetate, which can be harmful to the foetus, particularly the nervous system and brain.

Henna hair dye will also slowly fade away to your hair's original colour, but will not leave any lines or stripes like
synthetic dye often does.
About the Author
To find out a bit more about henna or Hair Dye in general, why not visit our site at
http://hairdye-info.com
. You will find many articles and related resources on all things
'hair dye'.
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