I fell in love with henna when I started using it for Hari Raya. Its like a tattoo but temporary and the best part, its Halal. I have been using it since and even started a henna service a few years back. Its beautiful how such a simple creation can make its mark all over the world.
Henna (also known as Mehndi or Mehendi) has been a practice over five centuries in several countries such as Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East. It is a natural produce as it is actually a plant called Henna (Lawsonia inermis). It is made by crushing the plant and grinding it into powder form. It is then mixed with other ingredients to form a paste ready for use.
Back In The Day
Due to its natural cooling effect, people of the desert would use it to control their body temperatures. They would crush the its leaves and soak their palms and the soles of their feet to experience the cooling effect.
The effect stays on their skin as long as the stain remains. When it starts to fade, it will leave patterns on the skin and this is how body decorations using henna came about.
As time goes by, it is used by many people for several reasons. It has also made its way to other parts of the world such as the US. Celebrities such as Madonna and Gwen Stefani decorate their body with this natural paste.
Normally it is used on the hands and legs. However, it is also used on other parts of the human body such as pregnant bellies and heads for those going through chemotherapy. It has become a trend worldwide as many people are adopting this tradition.
How is Henna Used
With it being a natural product, henna has many uses. Probably the most common on is celebrations. Here in Singapore, henna is widely used during weddings, Hari Raya and Deepavali. But that is not all. It is also used as self-reminders, self-expression, a form of blessing and well-being and more.
It is amazing how a plant can have all these abilities. What surprises me most is that it is also a type of medication. As it is considered an herb, it has natural healing properties. Back in the day, it is used to treat headache, stomach aches and burns.
It is also used as sunscreen. It is usually placed on animal noses to prevent sunburns. I did not know animals could use them too! Another healing ability is that is it anti-fungal. No wonder my grandmother would use it on her toes to prevent fungal infections.
This product stains the skin brown based on how long it is left on the skin. For a deeper brown, users are advised to leave it on for about 12 to 16 hours, but its best left overnight. Brides are often told to wrap their hands and feet with saran wrap or medical tape to stop it from falling off.
When it is peeled of scraped off, it will first leave a light orange stain on the skin but will develop into a darker stain within 24 to 36 hours. It is pretty long to wait but I assure you it is worth it.
Henna for Hair
It can also be used a hair dye. This dates back to thousands of years where men and women would use it to dye their hair, moustache and beard. Hair henna is a permanent dye; thus, it would not come off. It would either fade, resulting a lighter coloured hair or the hair would grow it out.
Synthetic hair dye tends to dry our hair out, but henna is healthy as it is natural. It makes the hair stronger, shinier, and healthier. So those who are not able to use synthetic hair dye can definitely opt for henna for hair instead.
I love the idea of it. From the stain to the health benefits, I was honestly surprised by its different uses. Since the festive season is coming, my hands would be stained pretty soon.
Now that you know more about it and its uses, share this with a friend and your family. Experiment with the different uses of henna or just for decoration, either way, it is beneficial for people from all walks of life.
This article was first published on Must Share Good Things.