Lawsonia inermis L.

Lawsonia inermis L.

Botanical Name:                  Lawsonia inermis L.Lawsonia-inermis

Kingdom:                              Plantae

Order:                                    Myrtales

Family:                                  Lythraceae

Genus:                                   Lawsonia                                                                                      

Species:                                  L. inermis                                                                                   

Local Name:                         Mehndi                                                                                           

Sindhi Name:                       Mehndi

English Name:                    Henna

Parts Used:                         Leaves, Roots, Flowers, Seeds


L. inermis is a tall heavy shrub. Leaves are glabrous, elliptical, ovate, and lanceolate. Sepals are triangular or ovate. Petals are obviate. Flowers are small whitish, creamy which on wilting became greenish and dark brown. Seeds are numerous with hard and thick seed coats. Fruits are small having brownish capsule with 32-49 seeds per fruit.1


L. inermis is found in India, America, Egypt, and regions of the Middle East. In Pakistan, it is widely distributed in the Baluchistan.2

Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Disease:

Scabies and Acne

Powdered L. inermis is added to aqeous base to make a paste and used for the treatment of scabies, and acne in Districts Dadu, Tandojam, and Sajawal (Sindh).

Tinea capitis (Scalp Fungus)

Mixture of ground green sanwar* and L. inermis in water is used for the treatment of tinea capitis in Districts Dadu and Sukkur (Sindh).

Eczema, Ringworm, Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis), Hand infection, and Onychomycosis

  • Powder of inermis is added in water and mixed with 2 table spoon of sindhi oil/kerwa oil to make a paste. This paste is used for the treatment of eczema, ringworm, athlete’s foot, hand infection, and onychomycosis in Districts Dadu, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tandojam, Tandoallahyar, Jacobabad, Nawabshah, Umerkot, Sukkar,Sajawal, Badin, Ghotki, Mirpurkhas, and Kashmore (Sindh).

Heat Rashes and Alopecia

  • Ground inermis leaves are applied topically for the treatment of heat rashes and alopecia in Districts Dadu, Ghotki, Jamshoro, and Sukkur (Sindh).
  • Paste, prepared with inermis and multani mitti with karwa oil, is also used for the treatment of alopecia in District Ghotki (Sindh).

Nail Infection

Arq of L. inermis is used for the treatment of nail infection in Districts Sanghar and Tharparkar (Sindh).

Finger infection

Powder of L. inermis is mixed with in oil is used for the treatment of finger infection in District Tandojam (Sindh).

Dandruff and Hair Fall

  • inermis is mixed with ovrun oil* and used for the treatment of dandruff in District Jacobabad (Sindh).
  • inermis oil is applied on head for the treatment of hair fall in District Jacobabad (Sindh).
  • inermis is mixed with egg to form a paste, and this paste is applied for the treatment of hair fall in District Jamshoro (Sindh).


Lawsone (2-hydroxy-1, 4-naphthoquinone) is the main constituent of L. inermis, present in leaves. Other components of leaves are 1, 4 dihydroxynaphthalene, 1, 4-naphthoquinone, 1, 2-dihydroxy-glucoylo xynaphthalene, 2-hydroxy1, 4-diglucosyloxynaphthalene, flavonoids (luteolins, apigenin, and their glycosides), coumarins (scopoletin), and steroids (β-sitosterol). Bark of L. inermis contain pentacyclic triterpenes 3β, 30-dihydroxylup-20(29)-ene(hennadiol), and (20S)-3β,30-dihydroxylupane.3,4

Chemical Structures



Medicinal uses and Pharmacology/Scientific studies

Leaves of L. inermis are used for the treatment of headache, bronchitis, boils, syphilitic, sores, amenorrhea, scabies, and spleen diseases. Seed is used for the treatment of fever, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery, and gastropathy. Root is used for the treatment of gonorrhea and herpes infection. Bark is used for the jaundice and spleen enlargement. Flower is used for insomnia.5 Plant possessed antibacterial, antifungal, antiamoebiasis, antiviral, antiparasitic, astringent, antihemorrhagic, hypotensive, and sedative effects. It is also used as a coloring agent and as a natural dye in several countries.6


  1. Dar, M. I. (1975). “Flora of Pakistan”, 78, 5, Stewart Herbarium, Gordon College, Rawalpindi.
  2. Chaudhary, G., Goyal, S., and Poonia, P. (2010). “Lawsonia inermis Linnaeus: A Phytopharmacological Review”. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Drug Research, 2 (2): 91.
  3. Babili, F. E., Valentin, A., and Chatelain, C. (2013). “Lawsonia inermis: Its Anatomy and Its Antimalarial, Antioxidant and Human Breast Cancer Cells MCF7 Activities”, Pharmaceutica Analytica Acta ,4(1).
  4. Kidanemariam, T. K., Tesema, T. K., Asressu, K. H., and Boru, A. D. (2013). “Chemical Investigation of Lawsonia inermis Leaves from Afar Region, Ethiopia”, Oriental Journal of Chemistry, 29(3), 1129-1134.
  5. Borade, A. S., Kale, B. N., and Shete, R. V. (2011).  “A Phytopharmacological Review on Lawsonia inermis (Linn)”. International Journal of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, 2(1).
  6. Kamal, M., and Jawaid, T. (2010). “Pharmacological activities of Lawsonia inermis Linn: a Review”, International Journal of Biomedical Research, 1(2), 37-43.