Research Highlight

Henna leaf for nanoparticles

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.0 Published online 7 January 2009

A chemical found in henna leaf helps produce triangular gold and quasi-spherical silver nanoparticle1. The compound known as apiin aids in the synthesis of gold and silver nanoparticles of desired sizes and wonderful surface properties. Besides being non-toxic and environment friendly, the apiin-aided synthesis process churns out nanoparticles that may have application in cancer therapy and electronics.

Henna leaf has long been in use for its medicinal properties. The researchers took chloroauric acid trihydrate and silver nitrate solution and isolated apiin (apigenin-7-apiosyl-glucoside) from henna leaf extract. They added apiin into metal ion (gold and silver) solution to make gold and silver nanoparticles. The carbonyl group (organic group) present in apiin compound helps it to bind to metal ion forming a coat over the nanoparticles. This prevents gathering of nanoparticles.

The near infrared absorption of the gold nanotriangles could have application in hyperthermia (exposure to high temperatures) of cancer cells and in infrared-absorbing optical coatings, the researchers say.

The authors of this work are from: Department of Chemistry, S.R.M. University, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Chennai, 603203, Tamil Nadu, Department of Polymer Science, University of Madras, Guindy Campus, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.


  1. Kasthuri, J. et al. Biological synthesis of silver and gold nanoparticles using apiin as reducing agent. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 68, 55-60 (2009) | Article |