What is Henna?

Henna, or mehndi as it is known in Pakistan and India, is a plant similar in looks and size to that of a tea plant.

It grows in the hot equatorial regions spanning North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Near East and South Asia.  Some documentation can trace uses of henna back to 9000 years. Ancient Egyptian mummers have been found adorned with henna and Cleopatra was known to have used it for decorative purposes.

Henna is used for many reasons including: self-expression celebrations of special occasions like weddings, holidays & birthdays; inspiration;
reminders; beauty; cosmetic treatments; medicinal uses; blessings and well-being; to be part of an ancient tradition; and an alternative or precursor to a tattoo. The modern henna is a symbol of joy and the
tradition has been refined into an art form. Various techniques are used to darken the henna quality for longer lasting  stains. Designs have evolved over the years and become more intricate and  detailed. For brides henna is an auspicious sign, the darker the stain the more love in the marriage. Tradition holds that for as long as the henna stain  appears on the bride, she doesn’t have to do any housework!

Henna  is considered an herb, and has long been known to have healing qualities. It is used topically and usually not ingested or inhaled.  In ancient times it has been applied to the skin surface for such ailments as headaches, stomach pains, burns (including sunburns), open wounds, as a fever reducer, and athlete’s  foot.

The henna paste slowly  releases the natural dye on to the skin coloring the top  layers in the design. When the skin renews its self over the few days and weeks the  stain is slowly removed. Exfoliating the skin removes the stain faster. It is recommended to keep the henna on for at-least 6 hours for the darkest possible stain.