LAWSONIA INERMIS L.

Family: Lythraceae

Synonyms: Lawsonia alba Lamk.

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Mehedi, Mendi.

English Name: Henna, Samphire.

Description of the Plant:
A much-branched shrub. Leaves small, 1.3-3.2 cm long, elliptic or broadly lanceolate, acute or obtuse. Flowers numerous, 1.3 cm across, white in large terminal pyramidal panicled cymes. Capsule globose, 6 mm across.

Using Information:
The bark is considered emmenagogue; given in jaundice, enlarged spleen, calculous affections, obstinate skin diseases and as an alterative in leprosy. Decoction of the bark is applied to burns and scalds. The leaves are emetic, expectorant, diuretic and vulnerary; given in jaundice. Its paste is a valuable external application in headache, skin diseases, eczema, leprosy, dandruff and buring of the feet as an emollient poultic. Cataplasm of the bruished leaves or fomentation with an infusion of the leaves is much employed as a local application to bruises and sprains. The leaf juice mixed with water and sugar is given as a remedy for spermatorrhoea. A decoction of the leaves is used as an astringent gargale in sore throat. The flowers are considered refrigerant and vulnerary; used as a soporific, being for this purpose placed in pillows; an infusion cures headache. The seeds are tonic to the brain (Yusuf et al. 2009).

The seed oil possesses antifungal and antibacterial activity (Ghani, 2003). Ethanolic extract of the leaves possesses strong antibacterial properties against wide range of pathogenic bacteria (Anwar et al., 2007).

Chemical Constituents:
Various aliphatic constituents, terpenoids, sterols, naphthoquinone derivatives, phenolic constituents, tannins, coumarins, xanthones and flavonoids have been reported as the Chemical Constituents of this plant. They have also been reported to contain apigenin-7-glucoside, apigenin-4-glucoside, leteoline glucoside and a coumarin, lancoumarin and two pentacyclic triterpenes. The leaves also contain colouring matter, lawsone, hannotannic acid; gallic acid, resin, mucilage, saponin and traces of alkaloids. Stem bark contains an aliphatic hydrocarbon, methylnonacesanol. Roots contain a sterol, lawsaritol. An essential oil, containing α-ionone and β-ionone as the chief constituents present in the flowers (Ghani, 2003). Three new xanthones-laxanthones I, II and  III have been isolated from this plant (Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1993).


LAWSONIA INERMIS
LAWSONIA INERMIS L.


Distribution:
Cultivated throughout the country.


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Retutn from LAWSONIA INERMIS to Medicinal Plants: Part L