Many hues of the henna
Henna carries both aesthetic and medicinal values. While it is traditionally used by women to decorate their hands and feet, it can also be an effective remedy for dandruff.
IN INDIA, henna is commonly used for colouring hair. It not only covers up grey, but also acts as a hair conditioner. Add a little lemon juice and curds to the paste, and it helps control dandruff.
If you add an egg with tea decoction to the paste and apply it to your hair, it gives a special shine.
This apart, women use henna to adorn their hands and feet with intricate designs. To enhance the colour, tea and coffee decoction, eucalyptus oil, powdered cloves, or clove oil are added to the paste. It is considered auspicious for a bride to use henna.
Henna plant can be easily grown in your backyard. The Indian climatic conditions are ideally suited for growing a perennial plant such as henna.
Though the henna plant grows well in the sun, it does not react well to humidity.
In fact, one has to be careful about the amount of water that the plant gets. The Indian rains, just after the summer, is ideal for this plant. In winter, it is better to keep the plant indoors to ensure moderately warm temperature. The plant can be grown in a bed, or can also be used as a hedge plant around the house. It grows fast into a tall bush measuring over three to four metres. If you want to plant it in a pot, regular pruning is crucial.
The plant need not be watered everyday, once in three to four days will suffice. There is also no need to use any fertiliser as such, but it may come in handy when the plant shows signs of wilting. Henna plant is susceptible to insects such as termites, which love moisture, and hence, it is best to water the plant only when the soil becomes dry.
Henna has tiny whitish flowers and narrow leaves, which can be plucked and ground into a fine paste.
The leaves can also be dried and powdered or ground to a paste while they are still fresh.
Henna also has medicinal properties and it is used to cure liver problems, prickly heat, baldness, skin diseases and so on.
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