Henna, as understood by the majority of people, is a dark red or dark brown dye used to color hair and to make tattoos on the skin and is used traditionally in many cultures. This article discusses about the benefits and side effects of henna. Henna is a plant and its leaves are used to make medicines. Apart from being used as a dye, it serves several benefits to the body.
9 Benefits of Henna
Some of the most popular benefits of henna include the following,
- Improves Hair Health. Henna application seals the hair cuticle, preventing breakage and increasing shine. It also reduces dandruff and improves hair health.
- Hair Color. Henna is also popularly used as a hair coloring agent. Some studies have shown that henna offers great results for coloring gray hair, particularly with certain herbal combinations.1
- Reduces Hair Loss. Henna is a traditionally used hair loss remedy. Mixed with lemon juice and curd, it improves hair texture, prevents breakage and strengthens hair. Its regular usage prevents hair fall and baldness. This is one of the most important benefits of henna.
- Improves Nail Quality. One could never think of benefits of henna on nails, but actually treating nails with henna is a wise choice. The cuticles and the space under the nails is a prime location for bacterial infection. Applying henna directly to the nail bed helps in clearing up the infection, reducing pain and irritation. Also, drinking water steeped with henna leaves prevents cracking and inflammation of the nails.
- Anti.Aging Properties. The benefits of henna also extend to anti.aging properties. Henna oil and juices can be used on the skin to reduce the signs of aging and wrinkles. It also reduces the appearance of scars and blemishes. The antiviral and the anti.bacterial properties protect the skin which is the body’s largest organ.
- Wound Healing. This is one of the most notable uses of henna. Henna because of its antibacterial and anti.inflammatory properties protects the skin against infection and inflammations. It is applied to burns, wounds, and scrapes, as it not only provides a protective layer but also protects against foreign pathogens, and also with its cooling abilities, cools away the heat from the skin.
- Relieves Headache. The juice of henna plant when applied directly on the head gives quick relief from headache. The anti.inflammatory property reduces the tension and improves the blood flow in the capillaries.
- Regulates Blood Pressure. Consuming henna water and seeds helps regulate the blood pressure and relieves stress on the cardiovascular system. It also prevents plaque buildup in the arteries, preventing the heart attack.
- Detoxification. Henna is also seen to be an efficient detoxification agent. Soak the bark or leaves of henna in water and drink the liquid. It has been seen to be connected to improve spleen and liver health. Liver protects the body and eliminates the toxins present. liver health is necessary to prevent a wide range of other health conditions.
Some studies have also discussed about the antimicrobial effects of henna.2 This too can be one of the major benefits of henna.
5 Side Effects of Henna
Though henna is safe to be used for many, it can lead to some side effect or certain allergic reactions in few. Some of the side effects of henna include the following,
- Not recommended for children. The use of henna is considered unsafe for children and is related to serious side effects when applied on the skin of infants. Infants with G6PD deficiency are at an increased risk as putting henna on such infants skin can cause their red blood cells to burst.3
- Unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Henna might lead to miscarriage, which is why its oral intake is considered unsafe for pregnant women. Also if breastfeeding, henna should be avoided, due to its possible bad effects on the infant.
- Allergic reaction. Some people get an allergic reaction on applying henna, in such cases, it should be avoided.
- Cannot use dye. If the hair is colored with henna, using dye will not be effective as the chemical would not be able to penetrate in the hair. You need at least 5 months gap to start with any other dye. Also using henna on previously dyed hair can lead to an allergic reaction which can lead to the change of hair color to an undesirable color.
- Dry hair. The henna application can also dry up the hair. This can be a problem for people who have dry or normal hair quality.
Altogether the benefits of henna are many. However, the side effects of henna can lead to a lot of discomfort. It is therefore advisable if starting any herbal remedy, take the advice of the professional or do not forget test it on a small area of the skin.