Henna/ Mehandi is a medicinal/ ayurvedic flowering plant extensively used in India and the Arab Islamic countries. Henna Application has medicinal, aesthetic and religious/ritualistic significance. Typically Henna is prepared from grinding dry leaves of the Henna plant in to a powder. The grinding process releases a substance called Lawsone, which is capable to bond with skin/ hair and stay there for a considerable time. Henna has many uses
Henna is used to adorn palms, feet and other parts such as nails and arms, etc. serving as a temporary tattoo. It serves as a natural dye & conditioner for hair. It helps lock moisture in the hair and makes the hair shinier
Henna is also used to dye leather, wool and silk fabrics
The bark and seeds of Henna/Mehandi are used as ingredients in many Ayurvedic and Unani medicines. Henna is known to have cooling properties, so it is applied to soothe burns, rashes and even applied directly on scalp to treat dandruff.
Religious & Ritualistic Significance of Henna
Henna is applied to the brides hands and legs, as a precursor of the wedding celebrations. It symbolizes purity and beauty in various cultures and is applied on numerous other auspicious occasions, such as baby showers, Karva chauth, Diwali, Eid, etc. In certain cultures such as Marwaris , even the groom applies Mehandi . Lately, separate ceremonies are arranged during weddings and special occasions a few days before the event, just for Mehandi application. These ceremonies are most times accompanied by dance and music. Henna/ mehandi rituals and widely celebrated in India, Pakistan, Middle East, Morocco, etc.