Henna is a plant that has been valued for thousands of years medicinally and for its powerful dying properties for the hair, nails and skin. Henna art (or Mehndi) is the traditional use of henna paste made with dried and ground leaves applied to the skin in beautiful decorative designs and patterns. Once the dried paste is removed, a sort of temporary tattoo of the art is left on the skin in a lovely shade of brown. Though the origins of Henna art are uncertain, it was used throughout the Middle East and Africa, and in ancient India and Egypt. It is thought to have even been used by Cleopatra to decorate her skin.
Henna is considered a blessing for the wearer. It is associated with positive spirits, prosperity and good luck. In Hindu cultures, Henna is painted on the bride as a symbol of beauty, joy and spiritual awakening. It is used for rites of passage, religious ceremonies, pregnancies, festivals and simply for adornment. Henna is now a global art form, appreciated for its beauty and for its traditional uses.