Lawsonia Inermis (henna) is a large shrub or small tree, 2–6 m high. It is smooth and hairless with many spine tipped branchlets. Leaves are also smooth, spear shaped and attached directly at the base of the leaf (1.5–5.0 cm x 0.5–2 cm).The Henna flower petals are egg shaped and red or white with stamens in pairs.
Fruits are small and brownish 4–8 mm in diameter, with 32–49 seeds per fruit.
Lawsonia Inermis is native to regions of AfricaSouth Asia, and Northern Australasia. Henna's indigenous zone is the tropical savannah and tropical arid zone and it produces the best dye content in climates between 35°C and 45°C.
Henna is now commercially grown in India, Morocco, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. The largest area for henna farming at present is Rajasthan in India which has over 100 processors.
Since the Bronze age henna has been used as a natural dye. Many countries use henna, traditionally for festivals and celebrations. Dating back to 400 CE in the indian court records there is mention of henna as a hair dye. Other ancient records have also been found in Rome, Spain, Syria, Egypt and Morocco where wool is dyed and drumheads are ornamented with henna.
Use of henna for body art has enjoyed a recent renaissance due to improvements in cultivation, processing, and the emigration of people from traditional henna-using regions.
Henna comes in two forms paste and powder . The paste is pre mixed and ready for instant use, whereas the powder has to be mixed at least 4-6 hours before you want to use it. There are more details about this on our Quick facts page