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Lawsonia alba is generally termed as Henna. It belongs to the genus Lawsonia and family Lythraceae. Henna is a tall shrub or small tree, 2.6 m high. It is glabrous, multibranched with spine tipped branchlets. Leaves are opposite, entire, glabrous, sub-sessile, elliptical, and broadly lanceolate, acuminate, having depressed veins on the dorsal surface. Henna flowers have four sepals and a 2 mm calyx tube with 3 mm spread lobes. Fruits are small, brownish capsules, 4–8 mm in diameter, with 32–49 seeds per fruit, and open irregularly into four splits.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Lawsonia alba
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Madyantika Bengali : Mehedi, Mendi Gujarati : Medi, Mendi Hindi : Mehandi Malayalam : Mailanji Marathi : Mehndi, Panwar, Mendhi, Mehandi, Padchi-Methi Kannada : Madarangi Tamil : Marithondi, Maruthani Telugu : Gorintaaku
Chemical Constituents
Lawsone, Esculentin, Fraxetin, Isoplumbagin, Scopoletin, Betulin, Betulinic acid, Hennadiol, Lupeol, Lacoumarin, Laxanthone i, Ii and iii, Flavone glycosides, Two pentacytic triterpenes
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying a quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content by specifying a quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the marker substances or the ‘active’ ingredient. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug.Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants.Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E.coli which are causative agent for various gastro-intestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersentivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
The hepato protective activity of extract of Lawsonia alba has been studied against CCl4-induced liver toxicity. The results suggest hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of extract of L. alba bark. The plant extract or its purified compounds exhibit a variety of biological activities such as anti complementary activity, dihydroorotate dehydrogenase inhibitory, macrophage-stimulating activity as a result of stimulation of secretion of GMCSF (granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor), antimicrobial activity, anti-sickling activity, hepatoprotective activity, cytotoxic activity, and anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic activities. Henna's anticarcinogenic property was reported using a chloroform extract of Lawsonia inermis by the culture tetrazollium salt (MTT) assay on the human breast, colon and liver carcinogenic cell lines and normal human liver cell lines. In addition, an antioxidant-screening assay was conducted to detect whether a redox mechanism may be involved in the immuno modulatory action of henna.
Health Benefits
Henna was then used for the treatment of headaches, migraine, albinism, skin abrasions and ulcers, burns, smallpox, leprosy boils, wounds, some mycotic infections and cancers. It was also used for the treatment of scalp and hair infections and ailments. Lawsone, an active ingredient from Lawsonia alba has been shown to be effective against oral Candida albicans isolated from patients with HIV/AIDS. Henna has a wide spectrum of antimicrobial activity including antibacterial, antiviral, antimycotic and antiparasitic activities. With the ever increasing resistant strains of microorganisms to the already available and synthesized antibiotics, the naturally available Lawsonia (henna) could be a potential alternative.
Research References
1) Effect of lawsonia inermis on memory and behaviour mediated via monoamine neurotransmitters Indian Journal of Pharmacology. 1998 Jun; 30(3): 181-5 2) The evidence based wound healing activity of Lawsonia inermis Linn. B. Shivananda Nayak 1 *, Godwin Isitor 2, E. M. Davis 1, G. K. Pillai 3 3) • Antioxidant Activity of Lawsonia inermis Extracts Inhibits Chromium (VI)-Induced Cellular and DNA Toxicity.(Guha G, Rajkumar V, Kumar RA, Mathew L.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 20008460). • Henna (Lawsonia inermis) might be used to prevent mycotic infection.(Ahmadian S, Fakhree MA.Med Hypotheses. 2009 Oct; 73(4):629-30. Epub 2009 Jun 27. No abstract available. PMID: 19560876). • Henna (Lawsonia inermis Linn.) inducing haemolysis among G6PD-deficient newborns. A new clinical observation.(Kandil HH, al-Ghanem MM, Sarwat MA, al-Thallab FS.Ann Trop Paediatr. 1996 Dec; 16(4):287-91.PMID: 8985525). • A plant dye from Lawsonia inermis for protein staining after polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. (Ali R, Sayeed SA.Electrophoresis. 1990 Apr;11(4):343-4.PMID: 1692790). • Antimicrobial principles in leaves of Lawsonia inermis L. (Abd-el-Malek YA, el-Leithy MA, Reda FA, Khalil M.Zentralbl Bakteriol Parasitenkd Infektionskr Hyg. 1973;128(1):61-7. No abstract available. PMID: 4199288).