It’s hot out. You need henna!
Believe it or not, the practice of mehndi started out as an answer to the need for air-conditioning in the desert. The henna plant has several medicinal properties, chief among them its ability to cool down the human body. When the desert people of Rajasthan, Punjab, and Gujarat became aware of henna’s cooling properties, they dipped their hands and feet in a mud or paste made with the crushed leaves of the plant. Even when the mud was scraped off, they noticed that as long as the color remained visible, their body temperatures stayed low.
Eventually some women grew tired of bright red palms, and found that one large central dot in the palm of the hand had the same effect, while being more pleasing to the eye. Other, smaller dots were placed around the center dot, which gradually gave way to the idea of creating outright artistic designs. To that end, a thin instrument made of silver or ivory (in India) or wood (in Morocco), then most commonly used for applying kohl to the eyes, became the instrument of choice for henna applications, and it is still in use in desert villages today. Only in the last decade or so have the popular Indian cone and Moroccan syringe, both of which are able to deposit the thinnest filaments of henna onto the skin, come into play as modern counterparts of the simple stick.
Excerpt from Mehndi, The Art of Henna Body Painting by Carine Fabius (that’s me!)
(Here in the west, and in our Earth Henna temporary tattoo kits, we use handy, soft-squeeze plastic applicator bottles with fine metal tips typically used for silk-screening or re-filling E-cigs to apply henna onto the body.)
So now you know what to add to your repertoire when it gets so hot all you can think about is turning on the AC, jumping into a pool or heading to the beach: draw on your body with henna! Not only will it cool you down, you’ll look cool too!