Re: Standards for Indian henna powder (and the dye is: *drum roll*)

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Posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on September 17, 2002 at 02:24:07:

In reply to: Re: Standards for Indian henna powder (and the dye is: *drum roll*) posted by maxx on September 17, 2002 at 01:55:24:

I'm not a henna supplier or importer ... but since I've been on the
forum about 5 years, I've saved dozens of infoemails from henna
exporters. Therefore ... I have a list of henna prices by carton from
the exporter's front door. There may be a few henna sellers who are
just in it for the profit ... most of the ones I know personally
aren't making a lot of bucks because the shipping/courier/fees are
mindboggling. A kilo of henna in the exporter's hand just plain
doesn't cost much. Everything in between that hand and yours is a
killer. So .... frieght charges being equal ... you could quadruple
what goes into the grower/coop's hands and barely see a ripple.

Now ... if the FDA is pissy about the subterfuge of what's in the box
marked 100% pure henna ... and I've got no argument with that .... why
aren't we getting dried leaves and grinding them to our own
satisfaction? Seems to me that the FDA would take no interest in
whole henna leaves brought in (if we were assured that they were the
finest buds) as they're looking for packages and tubes that appear to
be for body art. I was looking at the equipment described for
processing the leaves and it seemed to me to be comparible to what's
used in ceramics, herb processing, and coffee milling. Or ... if
everything in the 100% henna boxes actually was HENNA, not sand, dye
and other little wonders ... perhaps the FDA would back off.

Why are the adulterated henna products getting out? Customs have
finite resources, and there's lots more worrysome stuff for them to
take seriously. Green dye and sand in henna is pretty trivial compared
to other stuff that gets siezed.

BTW... henna farming is one of the ecologically gentlest things I've
seen in a long time. Same bush gets pruned a couple of times a year,
year after year. Minimal fertilization, minimal labor, minimal
erosion and farm equipment. Cotton's waaaaaaaaay more eco-destructive.
Farm labor is never an easy life ... but people are tied to the land.
Henna is a nice little cash crop that doesn't strip mine the soil or
human life.


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