What is Henna?

What is Henna?

 

Henna (Lawsonia inermis, also known as hina, the henna tree, the mignonette tree, and the Egyptian privet)[1][2] is aflowering plant and the sole species of the Lawsonia genus. The English name “henna” comes from the Arabic حِنَّاء‎ (ALA-LCḥinnāʾ; pronounced [ħɪnˈnæːʔ]) or, colloquially حنا‎, loosely pronounced as /ħinna/.

The name henna also refers to the dye prepared from the plant and the art of temporary tattooing based on those dyes (see also Mehndi). Henna has been used since antiquity to dye skin, hair, and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silkwool, and leather. The name is used in other skin and hair dyes, such as black henna and neutral henna, neither of which is derived from the henna plant.[3][4]

Historically, henna was used for cosmetic purposes in Ancient Egypt, as well as other parts of North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Near East and South Asia. Bridal henna nights remain an important custom in many of these areas, particularly among traditional families.