The origin of Henna started centuries ago. The ancient people of Egypt and India used this form of temporary tattoo for their religious ceremonies, wedding festivals and for beautifying their bodies.
Henna is a plant which grows in the tropical climates of Southern Asia, Northern Australia and Africa. Its leaves contain a pigment known as lawsone which causes it to produce a dark stain after being touched. As a result of this staining quality, Henna has been used for ages to dye hair and create body art designs.
Mehandi on the other hand, originated from the desert of India where the people discovered that covering their hands and legs with the coloured paste of the Henna makes them feel beautiful and confident. It was not long before they started making intricate designs and was no longer about just smearing it on the body.
With time, the complexity of the design begins to grow and brides start decorating their hands and feet as part of the wedding festivals.
In Nigeria, Henna has not only become a part of marriage ritual for the Northern brides or Muslims but has also become a fashion trend drawn by celebrities and non-celebrities.
Some celebrities like Chidimma Ekile, Tiwa Savage, Adesua Etomi use the Henna intricate designs on her hands most times especially when they are going for events.
But medical researchers have advised that the Henna can only be used for hair but not for the body to avoid skin irritation.
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States Department of Health and Human Services stated that Henna as a natural plant if painted on the skin, can cause complications such as contact dermatitis whereby the contact of the henna on the skin causes skin irritation like rashes or might trigger an allergic reaction.
So, it is advisable to report all side effects from henna particularly the dark henna to a medical professional. Also, do a patch test whereby a small portion of it is applied to the body for a couple of minutes to look out for any side effect before applying generously on the skin.