Herbs of the Holyland by Nissim Krispil

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Common name:


Synonym name:

Hebrew name:

כופר לבן

Scientific name:

Lawsonia inermis



Arabic name:

חינה الحناء

2-4 m
Flowering color:
Flowering period:
Growing areas:
The henna tree grows in Israel near Jericho and in kibbutz Ein-Gedi. The henna that can be found in Markets is coming from the oases of the Sahara desert. The Saharan people grow the henna bush, reap it few times in a year and sell it as leaves or powder.

Henna tree is a shrub or tree that grows up to 4 meters. The leaves grow opposite each other on the stem, they are simple and even. The Inflorescence – branched panicle or cluster. The flowers sit in-between the leaves and are white in color. The fruit is a capsule.   

From a long time ago till nowadays, the color red-orange that is known in Arabic by the name henna was produced by crushed Dried leaves henna tree.
Henna is very popular in folk medicine of the Eastern Jews .
Jews in Iraq Spread the henna on the wounds of Leishmania (Leishmaniasis) , Skin blemishes, eczema, scabies and scratched skin, measles and bleeding gums . They also said that drinking henna brew can prevent pregnancy and gonorrhea disease. For Bronchitis they used to mix Coffee and henna with egg protein, pour the mixture on a patch and dress the patch on the forehead.
Moroccan Jews used henna to treat foot fungus; and henna mixed with egg yolk and flour for fracture fixation.
For treating irregular menstrual cycle, Tunisian Jews used to boil tsp of henna powder in a liter of water and drink it for seven days.
Persian Jews mixed henna with olive oil and spread the ointment on wounds and burns. Tea of dried or green leaves of henna was common in the Yemen Jews culture for washing the mouth and gums and strengthening the teeth.

Crush dried pomegranate peels and mix it with green henna powder. Pour over the mixture concentrated solution of tea and knead the mixture until it becomes a thick dough. Dip your fingers into the mixture and massage the hair roots. After an hour shampoo the hair.

For joint pains: rub the ointment over the aching joint.
The Homeland of the henna tree is India and Africa. The plant uses were common from antiquity till nowadays. It was used for coloring fabrics and leathers. The Egyptians used it to color mummies' nails. In the eastern countries the women have been using henna for coloring their hair, hands, legs and other body parts.
In the book Song of Songs the women compairs her uncle to "my uncle is like henna bunch in the vineyards of Ein-Gedi" (I`, XIV). In the Mishna the henna tree is counted between the incense plants that grows in the land of Israel "the rose and the henna and balsam and the cistus " ( Seventh F"z , MW ). From the henna leaves dissolved with oil, they produced henna oil that was called in the Syrian language "Mshacha Dekofra", in the Talmud they mention the oil as a remedy for urinary tract disease.