Currently, there is no regulation or standardization of henna processing and exporting, therefore henna is not used for its health benefits. Today, henna often contains unlisted additives, adulterants, metallic salts, para-phenylenediamine and other dangerous chemicals that could cause serious harm rather than healing. Henna is an agricultural product and there is tremendous variation within and among crops.
Although, there is no requirement for laboratory testing for lawsone content, pesticides, or naturally occurring contaminants for henna. Without regulatory standards for henna, dose/time for medical use is not possible.
At this current time, only a qualified physician can diagnose a condition and prescribe treatment. With a physician’s permission, there are some simple applications of pure henna that is suitable for self-care of several minor conditions of the hair and scalp.
Henna For Hair and Skin Care
Henna is antifungal and has some proven antibacterial activities as well. It can eliminate fungal dermatophytes living in the skin such as the tinea and masalezzia. These fungi can cause superficial infections of the skin, hair, and nails. Some examples are dandruff, ringworm, athlete’s foot and fungal infections of the nails
Using henna can eliminate dandruff or flaky scalp when caused by the fungus Malassezia furfur. This fungus consumes the oils from skin, and in humans, often inhabits the scalp. Most people who use henna regularly to dye their hair have no dandruff. People who have dandruff may experience a sudden fall of dandruff after their first application of henna. This is because when henna kills off the fungus, the outermost layer of infected skin exfoliates. Healthy skin remains and flourishes.
A single topical application of henna paste can effectively relieve the fungus tinea pedis (athlete’s foot), tinea capitis which affects the scalp, and tinea barbae which affects facial hair. Henna will stain hair and skin when applied to these areas. A single application is sufficient to rid the area of tinea until the stain has exfoliated.
A person who, on their physician’s recommendation and permission uses the henna paste to eliminate fungal infections will have to weigh the convenience of getting rid of the fungus with a single henna application against having a henna stain for three weeks on the skin or several months on the nails.
Henna and Head Lice
The head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) have been itchy, contagious pests living in people’s hair and sucking their blood for years. Head lice populations have increased since the 1960s and now infest hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
Remember, head lice lay eggs on the shafts of hair. Once established in a household, school, or village, head lice are stubbornly resistant to eradication. Even with the use of strong chemical remedies head lice can live for two days in bedding, hairbrushes, and clothing. Lice spread when people are in close, friendly contact, grooming, dressing, and sleeping near each other.
Using one application of henna paste to the hair can kill head lice. Henna will also kill the eggs as it does for other insect pests and nymphs without resorting to chemical treatments or shaving the head. To rid difficult infestations, add artemisia or fenugreek to the henna. Applying a mixture of Artemisia and henna to the hair is the most effective against head lice. Artemisia should not be used on children, pregnant or nursing women.
Head lice are evolving resistance to chemical cures. Henna has been used effectively against head lice in folk remedies for centuries and does not seem to have reduced effectiveness.
Catherine Cartwright-Jones, Ph.D., sends every Ancient Sunrise® shipment to an independent laboratory for testing to prove purity for your safety. Ancient Sunrise henna can be used in traditional home remedy topical applications.
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