Henna

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What other names is Henna known by?

Alcanna, Egyptian Privet, Hennae Folium, Henne, Henné, Jamaica Mignonette, Lawsonia alba, Lawsonia inermis, Mehndi, Mendee, Mignonette Tree, Plante du Paradis, Reseda, Smooth Lawsonia.

What is Henna?

Henna is a plant. The leaf is used to make medicine.

Don't confuse henna with henna root (Alkanna tinctoria), also referred to as alkanna root.

Historically, henna has been used for severe diarrhea caused by a parasite (amoebic dysentery), cancer, enlarged spleen, headache, jaundice, and skin conditions. These days, people take henna for stomach and intestinal ulcers.

Henna is sometimes applied directly to the affected area for dandruff, eczema, scabies, fungal infections, and wounds.

In manufacturing, henna is used in cosmetics, hair dyes, and hair care products; and as a dye for nails, hands, and clothing.

People also use henna on the skin as temporary "tattoos."

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Ulcers in the stomach or intestines.
  • Severe diarrhea caused by parasites called amoebas (amoebic dysentery).
  • Cancer.
  • Enlarged spleen.
  • Headache.
  • Yellow skin (jaundice).
  • Skin conditions, when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.
  • Dandruff, when applied to the scalp.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of henna for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Henna work?

Henna contains substances that might help fight certain infections. There is also some information that henna might decrease the growth of tumors, prevent or reduce spasms, decrease inflammation, and relieve pain.

Are there safety concerns?

Henna seems to be safe for most adults when used on the skin or hair. It can cause some side effects such as inflammation of the skin (dermatitis) including redness, itching, burning, swelling, scaling, broken skin, blisters, and scarring of the skin. Rarely, allergic reactions can occur such as hives, runny nose, wheezing, and asthma.

Henna is considered to be UNSAFE when taken by mouth. Accidentally swallowing henna requires prompt medical attention. It can cause stomach upset and other side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: Henna is considered UNSAFE for use in children, especially in infants. There have been cases of serious side effects when henna was applied to the skin of infants.

Infants with a condition called glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency are at especially high risk. Putting henna on the skin of these infants can cause their red blood cells to burst.

Pregnancy or breast-feeding: It's UNSAFE to take henna by mouth if you are pregnant. There is some evidence that it might cause a miscarriage. It's also UNSAFE to take henna if you are breast-feeding.

Henna allergy: If you are allergic to henna, avoid contact.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Lithium
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Henna might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking henna might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Dosing considerations for Henna.

The appropriate dose of henna depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for henna. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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