Confused by Neutral Henna or Cassia Obovata?
If you are, then join the masses. The demand for pure henna and 100% natural henna-based products have increased tremendously in recent years. That’s a good thing. (Think: Martha Stewart voice). However, a product commonly advertised by a number of companies as, Neutral Henna, is not henna at all –but a plant called, Cassia Obovata (Senna italica).
Cassia Obovata (Senna italica) is…
a wonderful botanical from Asia
Cassia Obovata will naturally condition all textures of hair, adding luster and supple definition. It is also known to improve scalp condition and eliminates dandruff.
If your natural hair color is blonde or gray, it will brighten and add golden hues and golden highlights (depending on length of time it's left on your hair).
If your natural hair color is brunette or black, you will still reap the deep conditioning benefits found in pure Cassia Obovata –but it will not bring out golden highlights if you don’t have any naturally.
As stated previously, the confusion comes from Cassia Obovata (Senna) being marketed as Neutral Henna. In fact, if you were to look it up on Wikipedia, you may read: ‘Another senna, Senna italica ssp. italica (= Cassia obovata), often called "neutral henna", is used as a hair treatment with effects similar to henna but without the red color.’1
More About Cassia Obovata (Senna italica)
Cassia Obovata is an ancient plant from India that has a number of beneficial properties. There are over 400 species of the Cassia Obovata plant. The ground powder is made from harvested, dried leaves of the plant. Although it has various medicinal uses, this powder is often used to condition, thicken, define and color or highlight natural hair color.
‘The active component is an anthraquinone derivative called chrysophanic acid, which is also found in higher concentrations in rhubarb root. It adds a slight yellow color.’ 1 The yellow color is left when the Cassia Obovata made into a paste and is left on the hair for long periods of time. The staining and conditioning properties of Cassia Obovata -similar to henna staining and conditioning, might be one of the reasons it is often marketed as “neutral henna”.
REMEMBER: Cassia Obovata is not Henna or made from the Henna plant. It’s simply: Cassia Obovata (Senna italica).
Caveat emptor (Let the Buyer Beware).
1Source on file.