Henna is obtained from a tropical shrub known by its botanical name of ‘Lawsonia inermis’ The plant reaches a height of one to two meters. Its leaves are dark green while the flowers are light pink. The characteristic aroma of the henna plant that encircles its plantations is highly refreshing and stimulating.
CONDITIONS REQUIRED FOR CULTIVATION
Cuttings of henna is planted in mid-summer during the wet monsoon. It is mostly grown in eastern countries as well as in northern Africa. The plant can withstand extremes of heat. It requires natural fertilizer and a good supply of water. Henna is obtained from the plant three times a year. The yield that is harvested in May and June is the best. The quality is not so high when leaves are picked in August and September. It suffers a further deterioration when the leaves are obtained in December and January.
HENNA LAWSONIA POWDER
Premium quality of Henna leaves is selected from the best crop of henna. henna leaves are thoroughly cleaned and dried before they are powdered. Drier the leaves finer the powder is and the better the henna will dye. Impurities like Roots, sand, dust or weeds etc., make the quality of dye inferior. The quality is also affected if the leaves are powdered before they are fully dry. That is why Lawsonia Henna leaves are dried very well in shade so that they may be ground better and finer.
USE OF HENNA AND TRADITION
The beautifying properties of henna were known even in ancient times. The Emperors and Queens of Persia used it as a body scrub. When Buddhism was flourishing, henna was believed to bring about success and victory, and was used during religious rituals. Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian Queen, also used henna to beautify her enthralling hair.
The use of henna still thrives in the eastern societies and is considered tremendously important there because people adhere to their customs and heritage. It is a necessity in wedding ceremonies and is used to adorn the hands and feet of brides by means of attractive designs and patterns. Oriental poets have also been praising the charm of henna in their poetry since the ages. In ancient times when people used to travel by foot, they kept henna leaves inside their shoes in order to get relief from heat and tiredness during the journey. Its use is also a Sunnah.