Henna is known as "mehendi"
in Indian tradition. It derives from the Arabic "hinna"
and its scientific name is lawsonia inermis or mignonette
Henna has many therapeutic, decorative and
Because of its therapeutic action against dry skin, henna
is used to heal wounds and cuts, as a conditioner for hair
and roots and to strengthen nails.
It is also used as hair coloring.
It is used extensively for non-permanent tattoos,
particularly for marriage ceremonies.
Many customs surround these tattoos, such
as hiding the secret of the husbands name in the image
that is drawn with the henna. In these cases, henna acts
as a connector to the spiritual and is supposed to bring
happiness, prosperity and joy to a couple.
In ancient Vedic texts, mehendi has the ability
to stimulate a persons inner sun.
Henna is a powder obtained by crushing dry
leaves and mixing the power with water (or tea or coffee
to darken the color, lemon juice to highlight color and
sugar to stabilize the dye).
With the resulting paste delicate images are
drawn on a persons hands or feet, with traditional
tools. The image is left to dry for several hours and then
rinsed. The tattoo will remain for up to three weeks, depending
on factors such as the ambient temperature and level of
dryness. The stain gets lighter with time or turns orange.
It is not advisable to use artificial colorings to darken
the image as this can cause various medical problems.