How to Grow and Make Your Own Henna
By: Krysteen ~
We’ll be discussing all you need to know about how to grow your own Henna plant, where to get it, and what the plant needs to grow. As well as, how to make a henna paste from the plant and what methods work the best!
The Henna plant is most common in tropical areas like India, Africa, Asia, and Australia. This is due to the plant needing a lot of sun, thus it’s usually found in the dessert. The botanical name of is Lawsonia inermis, a member of the Loosestrife family. It needs full sun and warmth and will not survive in frost. There are several reasons to have a henna plant, body art, hair color, fabric dye as well as the medicinal properties. It’s an antiseptic and an astringent. The plant can be bought on-line from several good sources as well as the seeds.
For the care of your plant:
❖ The highest dye content produced from the henna plant is in temperatures of 35-45 degrees Celsius, suggesting that this is the optimum temperature for the henna plant. However, the plant can also be cultivated in regions with average temperatures of 24 degrees Celsius.
❖ Grow your plant in a pot large enough for a fully grown henna plant, and water your new plant thoroughly. After this do not water again until the soil has completely dried out, then water it again heavily. This dry-wet cycle must be repeated to be successful in growing your henna plant. It’s important not to water the plant each day because if it’s moist at root level then it may suffer from root rot, pests and fungal disease.
❖ The plant prefers a sunny position and will grow in a range of soils, but it does best in a light to clay loam with the ability to retain some moisture. Which is good for the henna plant since you don’t want water it every day.
How to make the Paste: You can mix the henna paste using fresh or dried leaves. Dry the leaves by placing them in the shade to dry on a hot day. It is best to avoid putting the leaves in direct sunlight because the leaves may lose some of their potency. Once the leaves are crispy and completely dry, grind them using a mortar and pestle. Try to ground the leaves as finely as possible like flour and then strain the resulting powder through a sieve. This will remove any bits of stem or material that isn’t finely ground. If you don’t plan on using it right away, seal the powder in an airtight container and store in a cool and dark area. When you are ready to use the henna make the paste a day before you want to use it so that the dye properties have time to activate in the paste.
❖ Mix the powder in a non-clear plastic container with a lid. Add the henna leaf powder, mix it with lemon juice, Eucalyptus oil, and a little bit of sugar to the consistency of toothpaste.
➢ Eucalyptus oil can be swapped out with other essential oils like Tea Tree, Cajeput, and Ravensara.
❖ For a more in-depth walk through watch our video on how to mix the paste, https://vimeo.com/68808791