The wonderful world of Henna Body Art also known as Mehndi
Henna or Hinna, as it's known in Arabic, is also known by other names such as Mehndi (Sanskrit), and it's Latin name: Lawsonia inermis.
The henna plant is a dwarf shrub that produces fragrant white, pink or yellow flowers. The scent from these flowers is very intoxicating, and has a sweet, earthy fragrance with rich floral undertones.
Henna is one of the oldest and most prized scents of the ancient world. Best known by the name Henna Attar, and still available today, henna blends well with Sandalwood or Rose.
Harvested twice a year, henna thrives in warm climates. Countries such as Pakistan, Morocco, Iran and India are all well known for their superior henna.
The leaves of the henna plant are dried, crushed into a powder and made into a paste that is applied to the body to dye the skin. Henna leaves contain a dye molecule known as Lawsone. The longer the henna paste is left on the skin, the better it will stain. Henna will leave a light stain on your skin within a few seconds, and a darker stain when left on for several hours.
After being left on the skin for 6 to 12 hours, you will see an orange colored stain left on your skin. Do not despair!!!! Your stain will get darker. The stain will deepen into a rich crimson color over the next 24-48 hours. The resulting color darkens according to the quality of henna used, how long you left the paste on and your body's own chemistry. Hands and feet will stain better than other areas of the body. The stain may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Henna is one of the oldest plants known to history, and is very safe for skin.
Henna does not come in different colors and henna is not black!! Any pictures contained here or shown on this website where the henna looks black, are pictures taken with the henna paste still on the skin. "Black Henna" usually contains a nasty chemical called PPD that can cause blistering, scaring and other serious health problems.
Never use anything called "Black Henna' or "Black Mehndi" as it could harm both Artist and Client.
Henna at The Earth's Cauldron
We offer everything you need to do your own henna body art here at The Earth's Cauldron. We only use the finest quality henna and essential oils in our henna paste, no chemicals, dyes, preservatives, artificial ingredients or anything containing PPD is ever used. These same quality ingredients are available to you.
We carry several henna powders here at The Earth's Cauldron including Jamila. Jamila henna is one of the best brands of henna powder on the market today, and is a trusted favorite of many henna artists. The powder is super fine, needs no sifting and has a nice silky texture.
Our henna powders are imported several times a year to insure the freshest powders possible and are of the best quality available today.
Henna kits are available in several types and sizes. We offer a "Just the Basics" henna kit with all the basic ingredients you will need to make your own natural henna paste. The Earth's Cauldron also offers all of our quality henna products in many other kits with everything you need to get started in the wonderful art of Mehndi!
We use only the best aromatherapy grade essential oils for our henna terp blends. If you "terp" your henna, you will get more dye out of the henna and into your skin, and you will get a noticeably darker color than you would without terps. All of our blends are not only chosen for their monoterpene alcohols (which make more henna dye molecules to stain the skin) but also for their wonderful scents.
We have all the tools and applicators you need to apply your henna. Hand rolled henna cones and Jacquard bottles with three different sizes of metal tips. We also have carrot bags for filling your cones or bottles and touch up tools to help refine your henna work.
Finish off your henna experience with our luscious Henna Balm or Aftercare Roll On Oil. This helps keep your henna design darker, longer by protecting it while swimming, bathing or even doing the dishes!
The History of Henna
This is a brief journey through the history of henna. We have traveled down the silk road, down the incense road, and now our journey has led us down the henna road and we would like to share our travels with you.
One of the first mentions of henna was found in Egypt in the tomb of the Pharaoh Teti, 2291 b.c.e. Egyptians speak of a mysterious "land of Henu" on or around the biblical land of Goshen that was reported to have fields of henna. Henna is believed to have originated in Ethiopia and traveled to Egypt via the Nile river. Traces of henna have been found on the hair and nails of mummies dating back to 3500 b.c.e. The oldest written evidence of women using henna in connection with marriage and fertility was found in Syria around 1700 b.c.e.
Henna's discovery as a skin staining substance was probably something as simple as holding a ball of fresh henna paste in the hand for a cooling effect.
People would have easily noted and starting experimenting with the leaves and the dye that they produced as Egypt and other countries were well known for their use and experimentation with plants, perfumes and incense.
The flowers of the henna plant were extremely prized in the ancient world.
Queen Cleopatra VII is said to have had the sails of her barge soaked with perfume made of henna flowers known as Cyprinum. Henna did not travel well in the hot climates of the middle east, so it's probable that henna's main export was in the form of an ointment, cream or perfume.
Solomon's Song of Songs, written in Jerusalem around 1020 b.c.e. mentions henna. King Solomon was said to have had thriving gardens with some of the best henna of the era. In biblical times this area around the dead sea was much different than it is today, rich with nutrients and a climate perfect for plant life.
The second century b.c.e. appears to be the first mention of henna in Hindu texts. Henna most likely came to India as a gift from Egypt.
Mehndi is the word used to describe henna, the art of painting henna, and the final design. Mehndi does not necessarily mean the use of henna, it simply means a form "body painting".
The word Mehndi or Mendi, actually means myrtle in Sanskrit. The art form of henna has almost exclusively been practiced by women. In North Africa, Morocco, Asia, Egypt, the Middle East, India, Pakistan and Muslim Communities, you will find women who still practice this beautiful art form we know as Mehndi.
A special thanks to Mr. Osman Ali at Abid & Co. in Pakistan, for the photos of henna fields, plants & henna transportation. We were given exclusive rights to use the photos on our website. No other use is authorized.
How to Get Started with Mehndi
As it is too much information to write here on this page, we offer all you need to do your very own body art. All of our Henna Kits contain complete instructions for mixing and applying Henna. We also carry books and instruction manuals. Like decorating a cake or doodling artwork designs, practice makes perfect. Don't expect to be an expert your very first time. Take some time out and pamper yourself. Learn about Henna and practice, practice, practice!
You do not have to purchase a kit to get started. Henna powder and applicators will get you on your way. Simply read over each description in our henna categories for the different powders we offer and also read over the kits to see if these will be more beneficial to you. We are also available to answer any questions you may have.
We want to keep this ancient art form alive and well, so pick out some Henna and lets get started!