While most people associate henna with the Middle East, it has been widely
While most people associate henna with the Middle East, it has been widely used for centuries in countries like Africa, India and Egypt. The henna plant is small, dark green and currently cultivated in Asia and Africa. In the Middle East, people discovered that by crushing the plant’s leaves, they could make a fine powder that also stained anything it touched when mixed with oils. In ancient Egypt, the Egyptians used the henna plant for cosmetic purposes, including dyeing their fingernails. In this sense, henna served as the earliest form of nail polish. Those living in desert regions found that creating a paste from crushed henna leaves could lower a person’s body temperature when applied to the skin, allowing them to remain cool during hot weather. The Chinese and Australians used henna to dye their silk, wool, animal skins and even to color the manes and hooves of their horses.