Rakhi 2020: Henna is a natural dye that is prepared from the plant ‘Lawsonia Inermis’, this plant is also known as the henna tree. Henna also refers to temporary body art that results from the stains that the dye leaves on the skin. Henna is mostly associated with India as it is applied to the hands and feet of the bride during an Indian wedding. However, its oldest use dates to 1200 BC, where it was used in Egypt for mummification. Gone are the days when henna was used only on special occasions. Nowadays, girls and women do not even mind going to work and college with beautiful henna designs on their hands. These days, henna requires pure expertise and professional help. Varieties of designs are available according to the cultural background and their features. Arabic, Indian, African and Pakistani henna designs are the most well known. Do you know that in India, it is said that the longer the mehndi stays on the bride's hand, it is believed that her in-laws will treat her well? If the mehndi fades out quickly, it’s a symptom that she will not be happily married.
Using henna on skin has many benefits, and a few of them are listed below:
- Medicinal benefit: Henna has natural benefits for the body. It is specially applied on the wedding day on brides to ease her stress as it has cooling effects on the body.
- Arthritis: Henna used on hands can alleviate arthritis pain. It relaxes the body as it has a cooling effect on the nerves, which reduces inflammation.
- Draws out a fever: Henna leaves rolled into a ball with water and placed in the hand can help reduce the body temperature during illness.
- Reduces pitta in mind: There is an essential oil that is derived from henna which is known as henna and in India, it is used for religious purpose. It is known to be great for reducing anger and irritability.
- Protection against viral diseases: Henna has antiseptic properties and applying it on the hands can protect a person against viral diseases.
- Treatment for skin conditions: It acts as a coagulant for open wounds, and it soothes burns. It is used for fungal and bacterial skin infections.
- Relief from headaches: Henna flowers cure problems, a plaster made by soaking henna flowers in vinegar and applying it on the skin can help in assisting with troubles.
Mehendi seems to be safe for most adults when used on the hair and skin. It can cause some side effects such as inflammation of the skin (dermatitis) including itching, redness, swelling, burning, broken skin, scaling, scarring of the skin and blisters. Rare allergic reactions can occur, such as the runny nose, hives, asthma and wheezing. Mehendi is known to be dangerous to people with G6PD deficiency (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency), which is more common in males than females. Children and infants of particular ethnic groups are especially vulnerable. Mehendi is considered to be unsafe when taken by mouth. Accidentally swallowing henna requires prompt medical attention. It can cause side effects, including an upset stomach.
(With inputs from Dr Rashmi Sharma, Consultant, Dermatology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj)
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