What Is Henna? History, Benefits and Uses
Have you come across people, especially Hindu and Muslims, with beautiful artwork on their bodies?
This artwork is in fact done with a substance called “Henna.”
Henna, also known as a mehndi and Hina, is a beautification and decoration product that has been in use for over 5000 years.
This product has been in practice in almost every region and is now becoming popular among everyday Americans.
History of Henna
The history of Henna can be traced back to as early as ancient Egypt in 1574 BCE during the 17th dynasty.
However, henna has no specific origin, as some documentation says it originated in India. The Egyptian dates are evident to be the oldest. The high-profile females of Pharaoh used it for their decoration, for instance, Queen Cleopatra.
This natural product was not used in Egypt for beautification alone. They used the product for painting nails of their mummies before they could bury them.
There was the existence of henna in the Roman Empire. In the Roman Empire, it was used for cosmetic purposes. The plant is mainly in dry climatic areas of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
During the 1960s, the product had massive popularity among young people, especially in Eastern cultures. Today it is used in every nation.
Uses and Benefits of Henna
Hina has several uses, from beautification to decoration. The beautification product is most associated with Hindu and Muslim women.
It can be used for more cool purposes than body art. Well, what are the uses of this popular plant product? Below are the uses.
Henna as a Natural Hair Dye
This is its most famous and common use. This product makes a perfect natural hair dye. Most people prefer chemical and other industrious products to make their hair glow and beautiful. Using natural products is always good.
Mehndi will give you the hair dye experience you have been longing for. It is the best alternative to chemical products, considering it has minimal side effects if at all it has. Besides, it is not expensive as chemical products.
Henna for Nail Polish
For years, women have adored their nails a lot. Women have been using different products to polish their nails.
Some women may not know that henna is a natural product that can do well as their nail polish. It is the best natural nail polish product you will come across.
Hina offers a beautiful natural red-orange color for your nails. Some natural nail polish may peel or chip. One benefit of using mehndi is that it doesn’t peel or chip. It is beneficial when used as nail polish as it keeps fungus away and strengthens nails.
Henna for Weddings and Occasions
Traditionalists use this product during special occasions like weddings, birthdays, and holidays. It is mostly used in traditional occasions in India, Africa, the Middle East, and Pakistan. One of the famous occasions where henna is applied is the Mehndi Night.
The Mehndi Night is a celebration done before the wedding, and it is done by the brides’ family. They come together to sing, dance as they decorate the bride.
They rehearse whatever they do during that night for days. The extensive decoration starts from eyebrows all the way to the feet. This is done in different parts of the body.
According to tradition, the bride is supposed to work when the decoration fades, and she cannot do any house as long as she has the stain.
The stain determines some important aspects of the marriage. They believe the dark stain is better for the marriage as it shows a good marriage and mother-in-law. That’s the reason you see brides having dark stains for their luck.
Henna and Makeup
A small fraction of women uses henna as a makeup product. It should be noted that this natural leaves a long-term stain, and as a result, it can be applied to the lips.
Several henna products are available in the market stores for use as a lip stain.
Henna for Textile Application
The application of this product in the textile industry may be a surprise to me. It suggests that if you can apply it to your hair and permanently change the color, you can use it to dye clothes, and the color stays on the cloth for good.
Henna is one of the natural dyes that have no harm to the environment or our skin. That is the reason the textile industry had to select it for dyeing clothes. Today, it is applied to various fabrics to give vibrant results. It is colorfast on fabrics.
Henna for Wound Healing
The natural beauty ingredient is not famous for beautification only. It offers one of the best wound healing abilities.
It helps skin fight infections and eliminates inflammation. For generations, it has been used on different injuries such as wounds, burns, scrapes.
It fights foreign pathogens and substances by adding a layer. It helps the wounds also by sucking the heat, offering natural cooling abilities. These properties make it very beneficial, like aloe vera gel for sunburns.
Henna for Anti-aging Properties
Mehndi has some abilities to help reduce signs of aging.
Through its antioxidant capacity has not been fully studied and verified, it has been proven to have some astringent in its oil. This has led people to use it to reduce aging signs, wrinkles, scars, and other skin blemishes. It is applied to the skin.
Henna for Hair Growth
There is no doubt that most people like long hair. However, not all of them have the ability to grow long hair.
Using products with Henna can help boost the growth of your hair, although more studies are needed. The ingredients of powder henna form have been used to make an oil that is useful in nourishing and promoting hair growth.
Henna can Help Prevent Dandruff
Dandruff can be annoying. They deny you the feeling of having nice hair. Sometimes you feel like not showing people your hair – you don’t want them to see it because it can be embarrassing. Many people are victims of dandruff.
Natural products made of henna can help reduce dandruff.
It removes dirt and excess grease that is responsible for dandruff. Use mehndi regularly on your skin to see the positive results. It will not only remove dandruff, but it will also prevent them as well.
Henna Thickens Hair
Long hair is not only what people want, they also want thick hair that will not expose their skull.
People who admire thick hair can try this natural ingredient. It consists of tannin that is useful in thickening hair.
The Henna tannin ensures the thickening and lustrousness of hair by making it stronger. Every time you apply it, you will love the look of your hair. It doesn’t enter the hair cortex, guaranteeing minimum damage.
Henna can Help Reduce Fever
This product has health benefits and uses besides decoration. It is suggested it is essential in reducing fever courtesy of its antipyretic properties. This fact is according to Ayurvedic medicine.
Fever can be dangerous sometimes because of its high temperatures. When someone has a fever, reducing the temperature is important. The temperatures can be reduced by applying mehndi. It does this by inducing sweating, cooling the body, providing relief, and successfully breaking the fever.
Henna as an Anti-Inflammatory
The plant produces a very useful juice in different sectors. The juice is not praised for nothing. When you have a headache, apply the juice directly to your skin for fast relief.
Its anti-inflammatory properties and abilities help reduce the tension, promoting healthy blood flow. The oil can be as well used for rheumatic and arthritic pains.
Henna Can Help Reduce Hair Loss
The application of some chemicals on the hair can lead to its loss. Some people lose their hair naturally or through other different causes.
Using henna can reduce hair loss. Put the plant’s oil or juice into curds and then mix it with your hair.
Henna Relaxes and Conditions Hair
Most people use chemical products to relax and condition their hair. Hina can bring the best relaxing and conditioning results for your hair.
It has the natural ability to seal your hair shaft. It does this by closing the cuticle. By this, your hair becomes amazingly smooth.
Side-Effects of Henna
Though Henna is a natural product, it is mixed with chemicals when manufacturing its products.
The natural mehndi might not have side-effects, but the manufactured one has them. However, some individuals may be allergic to it, which is natural. Below are some of the side-effects.
- Rough Hair
Applying mehndi can make hair rough. Dr. Anil says that chemicals that are added during the processing can be responsible for rough hair. It can also make hair vulnerable to dry as it may damage the hair shaft. In some instances, it can cause an eruption of boils and itchiness on the head.
- Contact Dermatitis
Among the chemicals mixed with mehndi during processing include the para-phenylenediamine (PPD). The chemical reduces the application time and intensifies the product. Most people don’t know that PPD is dangerous.
The chemical is a very strong allergen, and it can trigger allergic attraction when someone applies it to the skin. Common symptoms associated with PPD include itching, wheezing, skin swelling, burning, and redness.
- Red Blood Cells Bursting
The application of mehndi is harmful to glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD) victims. Any child with that disease should not apply the product on the hands. Red bold cells may burst whenever the product is applied, which may lead to serious health impediments.
- Red Eyes
The natural ingredient is harmful when it contacts the eyes. It causes watering and redness of the eyes. When such an incident happens, use cold water to wash the eyes and seek an eye specialist’s attention for professional help. Though very rare, its smell might cause some hypersensitivity.
Any product from this plant should be applied only to the skin. People should not swallow them. They are considered unsafe for any human consumption. In instances where a person has accidentally swallowed it, medical attention should be the priority. Some of the complications may include vomiting, stomach upset, including other stomach complications.
It should be highly noted that there are no health complications associated with the natural product. All the above side-effects are a result of chemicals added. Most of them are found in black mehndi. However, the PPD is highly controlled because of its severe results. PPD gives the black type its dark nature, and they use it as its coloration is fast.
There are three basic types of Henna.
Henna Natural Form
This type is sometimes known as red henna to differentiate it from others. It produces strong red-brown color. It darkens within a few days after application. This is a natural form – it is used raw without any chemical addition. It is applied directly from the plant.
This one is mainly derived from the indigo plant. Mostly, it contains different chemicals and dyes, such as the PPD, which tints skin black fast. In case it is left for more than two days, it can cause permanent scars and severe allergic reactions.
Some people view mehndi as a form of a tattoo. That is not true. A tattoo is very different from a mehndi application. These two have different uses as henna is used for decoration while tattooing is for fashion.
It is a natural product, and it has nothing to do with religion. Anyone can use it, so if you have been doubting and afraid of using it, now you should be very free to use it. Be among those who benefit from it and experience its benefits.