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The  henna,  arjeña  or  henna  (of the  Hispanic Arabic language  alḥínna, and east of  Arab  الحناء,  al-ḥinnā´) is a  dye  natural reddish color that is used for hair and is also used in a coloring technique of the  skin  call  mehndi. It is done with the  leaf  dry and the  petiole  shredded plant  Lawsonia alba  The m. ( Lawsonia inermis  L.), which is a shrub of the oleaceae family, about two meters high, branchy, with almost persistent, opposite, ovate, smooth and glossy leaves; small, white and fragrant flowers, in terminal clusters, and for fruits black, round berries the size of a pea. This dye obtained is commonly used in  IndiaPakistanIranYemenmiddle East  and  North Africa .

The "henna tattoo" is a figurative name, since true tattoos are made with needles or other utensils that inject ink or pigments under the epidermis, unlike the application of henna paste, which are pigments that rest on the skin surface.

There is no black henna, probably due to the desire for a "black tattoo" appearance, many people have started to use a dye, the toxin PPD (ParaPhenyleneDiamine: paraphenylenediamine) that passes into the bloodstream by penetrating through the dermis, which does not It only causes allergies, burns and ulcers the skin, but it also deposits in the liver.

In Spanish the denomination is also used  henna  (pronounced / jéna /) from  English , which does not appear in the  Spanish dictionary  of the  Royal Academy , although its inclusion is planned [ quote  required ]  in the twenty-third edition of the dictionary. [ quote  required ]  Another plant, the  privet  (Ligustrum vulgare), which is an oily hedge or shrub.


Henna has been used since the  Bronze age  to dye skin, hair, nails, animal hides, silk and wool.

There are mentions in the medical texts of the  Ebers papyri  (century XVI  to.  C.) in Egypt.

It was also mentioned in Rome during the Roman Empire.

The tincture of palms with turmeric (haldi, in  Sanskrit ) is an ancient custom in India. Sanskrit words  mendhī,  mendhikā  and  raktagarbhā  (What do they mean  henna) do not appear in the  Rig-veda  (the oldest text in India, from the middle of the  II  millennium  to.  C. ), the  Mahabharata  (epicoreligious text of the  century  III  to.  C. ) or the  Puranas  (which began to be composed in the first centuries of the common era) -. Around the year 400  d.  It was mentioned in the records of the court of some Indian king.

Originally it was used only on the palms of women's hands.  With the passage of time, the use was just as common among men.  One of the most traditional designs in India is the representation of the sun in the palm of the hand.

The Syrian jurist  Ibn al-Qayyim  (1292-1350) names it as a medicinal herb used by the Syrians and the Egyptians.

Henna has been used in Morocco for centuries to dye wool and decorate drumheads and other leather goods.


Kingdom of Granada


Jena tattoo.

At  Nasrid kingdom of Granada  It was cultivated because, according to a Christian chronicler, 'it was highly valued by the  Moors ». Men and women dyed and dressed their faces and hair with it. Its use was prohibited to  Moorish  forcibly converted to Christianity after the  conquest of Granada  for the  Catholic kings  because it was one of its most characteristic distinctive signs. After the  expulsion of the Moors  in 1609-1614 it was stopped cultivating.



In various parts of the world it is traditionally used in many festivals and religious celebrations. Design patterns  mehandi  They are quite complex and beautiful and quite different depending on the area, there are typical Arab, Pakistani, Moroccan and Indian designs. In some cultures it is also used as a bridal ornament.


Bridal tattoo

Mendhi is the local variant of henna designs in the Indian subcontinent. Women from Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Maldive Islands use mendhi for festive occasions, such as weddings, events, and traditional religious ceremonies.

In Indian tradition it is normally applied at Hindu weddings and festivals such as Karva Chauth, Vat Purnima, Diwali, Bhai Dooj and Teej. At Hindu festivals, many women have henna applied to the palms of their hands and the soles of their feet, and sometimes the back of their shoulders, and men also have henna applied to their hands, arms, legs, the back and chest. For women, it is usually drawn on the palm, back of the hand and the feet, where the design will be lighter because the skin is thinner on the back than on the palm and naturally contains less of the pigment melanin. . Muslims from the Indian subcontinent also apply mendhi during their festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.

For more than five thousand years, the application of henna has served as a symbol of good luck and health. Generations of women have used a paste made primarily from the crushed leaves and petioles of the plant mixed with essential oils to coat their hands and feet with designs ranging from simple shapes to intricate geometric patterns designed to ward off evil, promote fertility, and attract good energy.

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