Mehndi or henna is a paste that is bought in a cone-shaped tube and is made into designs for men and women. Mehndi is derived from the Sanskrit word mendhikā. The use of mehndi and turmeric is described in the earliest Hindu Vedic ritual books. It was originally used for only women's palms and sometimes for men, but as time progressed, it was more common for women to wear it. Haldi (staining oneself with turmeric paste) as well as mehndi are Vedic customs, intended to be a symbolic representation of the outer and the inner sun. Vedic customs are centered on the idea of "awakening the inner light". Traditional Indian designs are representations of the sun on the palm, which, in this context, is intended to represent the hands and feet.
In the modern age and even due to limited supply of Nepali Traditional Mehndi artists, usually people buy ready-made Henna cones, which are ready to use and make painting easy. However, in rural areas in Nepal, women grind fresh henna leaves on grinding stones with added oil, which though not as refined as professionally prepared henna cones, achieves much darker colors.
Henna is a plant botanically known as ‘lawsonia inermis’. It grows in hot climates and is mainly cultivated for its leaves which are dried and ground into a fine powder. Although the plant is green, it has an orange to red-brown pigment, which is released when mixed into a paste. This natural dye can then be used to colour the hair, skin or nails.
Henna is a safe herbal cosmetic renown for its medicinal uses, especially as a treatment for healing skin irritations and mild burns. Henna is a natural sunscreen as well as a sunburn soother.
When applied to the body it provides a cooling effect by drawing the heat into the paste. This can be useful for relieving headaches and reducing fever. The antibacterial and astringent properties of henna help to protect and repair the skin from a variety of conditions, such as - eczema, psoriasis and fungal infections.
Henna art(also known as Mehendi, Mehandi or Mehndi) is an ancient Nepali body painting art of creating intricate designs and exotic patterns on various parts of the body.
Traditionally applied to the hands and feet of women preparing for special ceremonies,
like weddings, religious occasions and festivals. In recent times, men and women both are finding it a nice alternative to permanent tattoos. It is completely natural, non-permanent and painless.
Adorning the skin with henna is an ancient art form which dates back over 5000 years. In Nepal, India, North Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East it is thought to bring good fortune and happiness to those who wear it. Henna designs are traditionally worn for celebrations and other auspicious occasions, such as weddings, pregnancy and birth ceremonies and religious festivals.