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All About Mehandi

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The term “Mehandi” is the Indian word for Henna, and it is also the term used to describe the art of applying henna. Mehandi is used to create temporary tattoos mainly to the hands and feet of a woman. It is also used for dying hair and to color nails. Traditionally it was used for its medicinal qualities. Henna is made from a herb which is known by the same name. The henna plant is like the tea plant. The leaves are dried and ground into a fine powder. This powder is mixed with water, eucalyptus oil, tea, coffee, and lime and then applied on the body. The Egyptian Queen Cleopatra is supposed to have used henna to color her hair. Today many popular Hollywood stars like Madonna and Demy Moore use it.

Traditionally in India mehndiis applied to a woman’s hands and feet. But on very auspicious occasions men apply henna as well. During an Indian wedding both the bride and bridegroom apply henna. Henna symbolizes fertility. It is also a symbol of love between husband and wife. The bride’s intricate mehndi pattern normally has the name of the groom interwoven into it. The groom is expected to find his name in the pattern. If he cannot do so, it is said that, the bride will control the marriage. Its use became popular in India because of its cooling effect in the hot Indian summers.

Today henna is used to make tattoos on different parts of the body whether it is the arm, the wrist or around the navel. Henna is being used for body art as well. In this form mehndi has become popular in the west. No doubt the most popular use of henna is to dye hair. As it is a natural dye and the color is beautiful and gives the hair lustrous look. Henna has to be mixed in the right proportion with the right ingredients to get the desired color and effect. There are different ways, designs and patterns that can be used to draw intricately on a woman’s hand. If the color of mehndi is to last for a long time one has to take proper care of it. There are certain drawbacks of using henna as well.

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