Henna is an ink that is gotten from a specific plant called Henna tree. The henna design on the skin is widely known to be done on women from India, Pakistan and other Arab countries. Some people do not believe that it is also done by Africans.
Henna in African tradition has a very old date – as long as 4000 years ago when the practice began. This shows that it is nothing new to Africans. In Nigeria, the Henna plant is grown in different parts of the country. In these different parts, it is also known to have different names. The names come from the different tribes and countries in the African continent for example, in Nigeria, Henna is called Marandaa among the Northern Nigerians while the Yoruba people call it Laali.
Henna is known to be medicinal in various ways. When applied on the skin, it helps the hair on the lady’s skin to be soft. Besides this, Henna helps to improve the immune system of people with sicklecell anaemia – it acts as an anti-sickling substance.
The Henna dye that the plant produces is majorly used by Islamic Nigerians to decorate their body, especially the women. During marriage, the henna dye decorates the women’s skin. It is done to symbolize several things, for example it means good fortune in a woman’s marriage.