Henna, the Joyous Body Art: the Encyclopedia of Henna* 
is a growing, evolving online reference resource for information and articles on the art, science, traditions, and history of Henna through its 9000 year development.

Index of Articles, Titles and Keywords
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The Molecular Sequence of Henna Dye Release

The sequence of lawsone from henna leaf powder  is as follows:
1) Lawsone is derived from hennocide precursors in the henna leaf.
2) The three isomerglucocides (hennocides) are converted into the aglycone by hydrolysis in mildly acidic conditions.  These will bind to keratin.
3) Then, further transformation of the aglycone leads to the more stable lawsone by oxidation.

The Geographies of the Black Henna Meme Organism and the Epidemic of Para-phenylenediamine Sensitization: A Qualitative History ~
doctoral dissertation on the addition of para-phenylenediamine to create 'black henna.  This dissertation includes the history of the dispersion of henna in the modern west, and the health problems caused by the addition of black dye to henna.

Theoretical Use of Henna in Prehistory
  • The History of Henna Hair Dye in Pre-History and Ancient Egypt: The Cultural and Social History of Henna
  • Theoretical use of henna in prehistory
  • Henna in Ancient Egypt
  • Henna in the Ebers Papyrus
Henna, Astronomy, and the Agro-Ecology of the Mediterranean Bronze Age
  • The Evolution and Migration of Henna into Cultural Practices
  • Henna, Astronomy, and the Agro-Ecology of the Mediterranean Bronze Age
  • Evidence of henna in the wall paintings of 1600 BCE lustral basin in Xeste III prior to the Santorini eruption
  • Artifacts showing markings consistent with a bride with hennaed hands in depictions of women in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean
  • Henna in Mycenae at the End of the Bronze Age
Ancient Mesopotamian and Levantine Henna
  • Evaluating claims of ancient henna use and searching for origins
  • Henna and Mesopotamia
  • Henna, conquest, and change following the collapse of the Bronze Age
  • The Royal Unguent
  • The Royal Unguent
  • Conquest, identity, and the erasure of henna in the southern Levant
  • Reading ninth century BCE henna in the Book of Kings: Jezebel
  • Echoes of Bronze Age Canaanite Henna in the Song of Songs
  • Imagining Queen Esther
  • Evidence of henna use and difference among neighbors
Henna and Healthy Dogs ~ Henna has been used for centuries to maintain skin health of dogs.  In moist, humid weather, ringworm and other fungal infections spread easily among pets, livestock, playmates, athletes, or a household. Ringworm can be completely eradicated with henna.
"Lawsonia inermis L. (henna): Ethnobotanical, phytochemical and pharmacological aspects"
Ruchi Badoni Semwala, Deepak Kumar Semwala, Sandra Combrinck,  Catherine Cartwright-Jones, Alvaro Viljoen. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, June 2014

Bubba, the Hennaed Lamb: Curing Ringworm with Henna ~ Ringworm is highly contagious and spreads easily among pets, livestock, playmates, athletes, or a household, particularly in warm, damp weather. Ringworm can be completely eradicated with henna.  

Menstruation and Henna: Pollution and Purification ~
Henna’s role in Muslim Traditions Regarding Reproductive Blood
2MB download

This paper explores the fundamental connection between henna and women's fertility, why henna is regarded as lucky and blessed, and why henna traditions have remained stable since the Bronze age.
/henna  traditions history  fertility  women   luck   baraka   menstruation  pollution   purification  Evil Eye   ceremony /

The Techniques of Persian Henna

8MB download
This paper demonstrates that women’s hand and foot markings in pictorial and literary Persian art between the late 15th century and the mid 19th are representations of henna body art, and that this interpretation of the markings is corroborated by Persian literature and traveler’s descriptions.   The representations are idealized but plausible representations of henna, and they demonstrate the technical processes and social uses of henna art in Persia. These depictions can also be read for class, gender, and the evolving Persian concept of ideal women’s beauty into the period of increased European influence on style in the Qajar dynasty.
/ henna   traditions  Persia  Safavid   chemistry  Orientalism   Iran /

The Patterns of Persian Henna

This paper demonstrates that women’s hand and foot markings in pictorial and literary Persian art between the 13th century and the mid 19th are representations of henna body art, and that the henna patterns mirror the arts of the period that would have been familiar to women in their daily lives: ceramic tiles from the mosque and the baths, the woodwork in their homes, their clothing, carpets, amulets, and talismans.  The manuscript representations are idealized but plausible representations of henna patterns within the limits of scale of miniature art.  These depictions can also be read for class, gender, and the narrative of social relationships.
/ henna   traditions  Persia  Safavid   patterns  magic  Orientalism   Iran /

Henna and the Evil Eye, Salt and Demons, and the Geography of G6PD Deficiency

Traditions of averting malevolent spirits with henna and salt to may have altered the incidence of Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency in populations across the North Africa, the Levant, and the Arabian Peninsula. The geographic distribution of G6PD deficiency, an x-linked hereditary enzymopathy, has been correlated to populations’ adaptation to malarial environments, but this has not fully explained the variations in the gene’s distribution.  For instance, Jewish Sephardim and Mizrahim have 30% to 60% of G6PD deficiency while Muslims from the same countries have rates of 1.8% to 8.5%.  Recently, physicians have found that G6PD deficient neonates and young children, particularly males, who have been hennaed according to local blessing and curing traditions in Turkish and Bedouin Muslim cultures, suffer hyperbilirubinemia and acute hemolytic crisis. In Jewish traditions in the same regions, children were traditionally rubbed with salt rather than henna.  This paper proposes that traditions of using henna versus salt as celebration and folk remedies for children may have changed the genetic prevalence of G6PD over generations.
/ henna   salt  traditions  G6PD-deficiency   malaria   indigo  evil eye  Lilith /

Henna’s Significance in Amazigh Id, Circumcision and "Night of the Henna" Celebrations

Before the modern era, Moroccan villagers applied henna for Id al-Adha, circumcision, and the “Night of the Henna".  This paper establishes the common ground of these events, and the importance of henna in the celebrations, based on eyewitness accounts from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
/traditions   Eid   Id   Islam   Amazigh    Berber Morocco sacrifice  celebration ritual   night of the henna  evil eye  ceremony/  

Developing Guidelines on Henna: a Geographical Approach
This is a master's thesis: a comprehensive discussion on the botany, chemistry, history and traditions of henna, and the legal and cutural issues that have arisen since 1990.
/history   botany   chemistry   immigration  PPD   law  origins   tattoo   scarification     skin   import/

Id al-Adha: The Ecological and Nutritional Impact of the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice, and the Significance of Henna in this Sacrifice.
This paper details Id sacrifice traditions and effects, focusing on henna and ecosystem management, from its origins in the Neolithic Mediterranean world, to present day.
/traditions   Eid   Id   Islam  sacrifice  celebration  Hajj   ceremony/  

Be cautious when testing "traditional, natural" cosmetics. In some countries, traditional cosmetics have very little, if any, standards and regulations for safety.
/khidab  black henna  PPD  allergic reaction Yemen/

Hindu Wedding 
by Dipti Desai
This free ebook explains the sequence of parties and rituals for Gujarati Hindu weddings, the meaning and importance of the traditions, and photographs of the events.
PDF, 54 pages,  5 MB download
/India   Indian  Gujarat    bride    mehndi   groom   sangeet    pithi    ring ceremony  traditions/

Rangoli: Elder Women Creating Sacred Geography

This is an article by Catherine Cartwright-Jones on rangoli and its importance in the lives of elder Hindu women, “how - to” create large rangoli, and about 70 traditional rangoli patterns from different areas in India.
/traditions   rangoli    mandana   kolam    India  Hindu  women   ritual    wedding   blessing/

Guidelines for hennaing Pregnant Women (and for hennaing while pregnant!)
by Catharine Hinton
/pregnancy  G6PD deficiency  warnings   business   childbirth   health  motherhood/

Lailet al Hinna fi Sharq’ia: Night of the Henna in Sharq’ia
by Penni AlZayer
/bride   Saudi  Arabia   dough resist    henaya  Arabian traditions   Arab women's traditions/

How to Henna a Drum
/drum    leather   tambourine  bodhran   complex pattern    how to/

Early North African Hennaed Drums
/Lehnert and Landrock    Moroccan   lace resist   tambourine    musicians   dancers/

Childbirth and Postpartum Traditions
/culture   tradtion   pregnancy   birth   malevolent   protection/      

The Henna Color Chart
        /results   stains   color   blackberry   dark   orange/

Copyright Law for Henna Artists
        /copyright   ethics   theft   borrow   derivative   original   images/

Henna and Fingernails
        /keratin    Fingernails   cuticles   fungal   tradition   cultures/

Henna and Fingernails:  "How to"
        /fingernails   keratin   cuticles   application   how/

Henna and Fingernails Patterns      
        /fingernails   patterns    Kufic    Islam    Floral   moroccan   arabic/

Henna and Fingernails: Wudu
        /Wudu   fingernails   cleansing   Islam   Mohammed   hadith   patterns/

Henna for Children in Siwa Oasis, Egypt
/circumcision   egypt   traditions   boys   patterns   evil eye/

The Geography of Henna
/climate   map   temperature   growing   henna   conditions/

The Geography of Henna: I  Where Can Henna Grow?
/climate   map   temperature   cultivation   henna   conditions/
The Geography of Henna: II   Where Is Henna Grown  commercially?
/climate   map   henna   cultivation   sales   commerce   export/

Where Does Henna Grow in India?
        /India   cultivation   geography   henna   map/

The Geography of Henna:  Where is henna grown, processed and exported in India?
/India   cultivation   geography   farming   agriculture   monsoon/

Geography of Henna I: Worldwide Map Cultivation      
/cultivation   geography   map   growing   agriculture/
Geography of Henna II: Worldwide Map Commerce
/climate   map   henna   cultivation   sales   commerce   export/

The Geography of Henna:  Rajasthan's Main Henna Growing Region
 /climate   cultivation   Rajasthan   farming   map/

Henna: Lawsonia Inermis
/lawsonia   botany   growing   plant   shrub/
Henna: Lawsonia Inermis
/henna blossom   gulhinna   flower   botany   lawsonia   attar/
Milling Henna Leaves
/grinding   processing   henna   growing   millstone   mills   limestone/

Henna: Germinating Seeds
/lawsonia   botany   germinate   growing   seeds/

Biblical Henna references: Song of Solomon
/bible   camphire   attar   song of solomon   talmud/

Henna Farming in Pakistan
/cultivation   Pakistan   farming   Jamila   commerce   Punjab/
Henna Farming in Pakistan: Large Map
/cultivation   Pakistan   Map   farming   Jamila   commerce   Punjab/

Henna Harvesting in Pakistan: Camels
/harvesting   camels   Pakistan   farming   commerce   Jamila/

Henna Drying and Sorting in Pakistan
            /harvesting   cultivation   drying   sorting   leaves   Pakistan   commerce/

Henna Fields in Pakistan
            /cultivation   harvest   Pakistan   irrigation   growing   leaves   camels/

Henna Harvesting in Pakistan
/cultivation   monsoon   Pakistan   growing   camels   growth   harvest/

Henna Plants in Pakistan
/cultivation   Pakistan   growing   blossoms   clusters   heat   leaves/

Henna and the Hamam  
/hamam   bath   bathhouse   women   beauty/

Morocco:  A Trip to a Moroccan Hamam
/Morocco   Hamam   bathhouse   women   beauty/

Turkey:  Henna and the Ottoman Hamam
/Turkey   Ottoman   hamam   bathhouse   women   beauty/  

Iran:  Bathing Kittens to Bring Babies
/fertility   hamam   bathhouse   women   Iran   beauty/

Henna and Horses  
/traditions   culture   Iran   Persia   horses   war   shah/

Henna and Horses;  at Springtime Festivals in Lebanon
/traditions   horses   Lebanon   festival   Easter   blessings/

Id al-Adha and Henna
/eid   id   Islam   Muslim   feast   sacrifice   blessing   Hajj   Mohammed   kabir/

Id al-Adha and Henna: Patterns
/pattern   eid   id   Islam   Muslim   feast   swirl   hand/

Id al-Adha and Henna: Patterns
/pattern   eid   id   Islam   Muslim   feast   floral   hand/

Id al-Adha and Henna: Patterns
/pattern   eid   id   Islam   Muslim   feast   floral   leaf   hand/

Id al-Adha and Henna: Patterns
/pattern   eid   id   Islam   Muslim   feast   leaf   feet   foot/

Id al-Adha and Henna: Patterns
/pattern   eid   id   Islam   Muslim   feast   belly/

Mehandi by Dipti Desai
/weddings   India   traditions   Dipti   gilding   zardosi   culture   bride   groom/

Mehandi by Dipti Desai: Paste only
/Indian   Rajwadi   Arabic   patterns   styles   traditions   floral   scenes/

Mehandi by Dipti Desai: Shading
/shaded   Geru   Hiramoti   patterns   styles   traditions   floral   scenes/

Mehandi by Dipti Desai: Paste only
/Chundana   Zardosi   gilding   gems   rhinestones   placement   patterns/
Mehandi by Dipti Desai: Paste only
/Anokhi   Soneri   gilding   gems   rhinestones   placement   patterns/

The Naun: The Barber's Wife
/Henna Artist   Nai   Naun  barber   caste    blind    India/

Jewish Henna Traditions from Kurdistan

/Jewish   Kurd   Kurdistan   traditions   betrothal   bride   death   circumcision/

Circumcision in Jewish Kurdistan
/circumcision   jewish   kurdistan   boys   traditions   indigo/

Kurdish Jewish Bride's Betrothal Henna Traditions
/Jewish   Kurdish   engagement   bride   groom   marriage/

Kurdish Jewish Bride's Lel Hinne Bedulge:  "the False Henna Night"
/Jewish   Kurd   Kurdistan   traditions   bride   superstition/

A Kurdish Jewish Bride's Lel Hanna "Night of the Henna"
/Jewish   Kurd   Kurdistan   traditions   bride   wedding/

Circumcision in Jewish Kurdistan
/circumcision   jewish   kurdistan   boys   traditions   indigo/

Jewish Henna Traditions for the Death of a Young Man
/Jewish   Kurd   Kurdistan   death   male   man   tradition   customs/

Kurdistani Jewish Henna Traditions for the Death of a Young Woman
/Jewish   Kurd   Kurdistan   death   woman   girl   tradition   customs/

Kurdish Jewish Bridegroom's Lel Hanna "the Night of the Henna"
/Jewish   Kurd   Kurdistan   traditions   groom   bridegroom   wedding/

Henna for Purim in Jewish Kurdistan: The Bath of the Maidens
/Jewish   Kurdish   Purim   Girls    Children    Esther /

/chemistry   molecule   hydroxy   naphthoquinone   stratum corneum   alkaline/

Health and Henna
/health   medical   papers   chemotherapy   bilirubin   safety   caution/

Henna in the Ancient Egyptian Pharmacopoeia:  The Ebers Papyrus
/Egypt   remedies   Thebes   cyperus   kuperos   Osiris   toes   eyes   teeth/

Henna and  Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
/haemolytic   anemia   infants   children   hyperbilirubinemia/

Neonatal Henna and Bilirubin Levels
/babies   children   bilirubin   premature   Hyperbilirubinemia   G6PD-deficient/
Henna for Accuracy and Comfort in Radiotherapy
/radiotherapy   tumor   isocenter   tattoo   marker/

Henna and Chemotherapy
/cancer   chemotherapy   baldness   hair loss   pattern/
Regale Unguentum: Parthian Royal Ointment
/Assyria   Parthia   Persia   Men   Ointment   Hair/

Green Dye and Additives in Henna Powder
/additive   green dye   polishing   testing   azo dye/

Henna traditions for the end of Ramadan:  "Id al-Fitr"
/Ramadan   Islam   Muslim   new moon   tradition   culture   donkey   women   children   celebration/

Ramadan:  New Moon patterns
/moon   lunar   pattern   Afganistan   Afgani   Kuchi   feet   foot/

Ramadan:  New Moon patterns
/moon   lunar   pattern   Afganistan   Afgani   Kuchi   hand/

Ramadan:  New Moon patterns
/moon   lunar   pattern   Afganistan   Afgani   Kuchi   hand/

Ramadan:  New Moon patterns
/moon   lunar   pattern   Afganistan   Afgani   Kuchi   hand/

Ramadan:  New Moon patterns
/moon   lunar   pattern   Afganistan   Afgani   Kuchi   foot   feet/

Ramadan:  New Moon patterns
/moon   lunar   pattern   Afganistan   Afgani   Kuchi   hand/

The Science of Henna and Skin
/stratum   staining   chemistry   dark skin   palms   soles   dermis   exfoliation/

Henna and Scars
/scarring   fading   exfoliation   staining   glassy skin   surgical scar/

Mapping Henna Stains on Your Skin
            /staining   darker   darkness   map   areas   skin   thickness   dermis/

Henna and Skin Stratum Corneum: ~The Science of Henna and Skin~
/stratum   staining   chemistry   dark skin   palms   soles   dermis   exfoliation/

Stratum Corneum: What is your skin made of, and how is it made?
/keratin   membrane   skin   layers   cells   spinous   basal   dermis   epidermis/

Stratum Corneum: How does henna stain your skin?
/lawsone   tannin   hennotannin   dye   molecules   spinous   basal   dermis/

Stratum Corneum: Why does the henna stain get dark?
/oxidize   saturation   alkaline   molecules   skin   cells   dermis/

Stratum Corneum: Why are there places where the  henna stain never gets dark and disappears fast?
/dorsum   keratin   skin layers   cells   thickness   alkaline   molecules/

Stratum Corneum: Why do henna stains on the the palms and soles last a long time? 
/lawsone   keratin   skin layers   cells   thickness   alkaline   molecules/

Stratum Corneum: What are those last orange traces, and why do they seem to last forever?
/lawsone   keratin   skin layers   cells   thickness   alkaline   molecules/

Stratum Corneum: Henna Stains: Day 1
/lawsone   keratin   skin layers   cells   thickness   stain   oxidize/
Stratum Corneum:  Henna Stains: Day 3
/lawsone   keratin   skin layers   cells   thickness   stain   molecules/

Stratum Corneum: Henna Stains: Day 7
/lawsone   keratin   skin layers   cells   thickness   stain   fade   demise/

Stratum Corneum: Henna Stains: Day 14
/lawsone   keratin   skin layers   cells   thickness   stain   demise   fade/

Stratum Corneum:  The Science of Henna and Skin
/lawsone   keratin   skin layers   cells   days  alkaline   molecules/

Stratum Corneum: Why doesn't a henna stain last forever like a tattoo?
/exfoliation   regeneration   lawsone   dermis   epidermis   dry skin/

Skin Stain Map
/map   printout   dark   darker   stain   blackberry/

Stratum Corneum: What happens if you get henna below the stratum corneum?
/scar   sores   wound   scratch   pigment   lawsone   molecule   epidermis/

Henna as a Sunblock
/pictures   Melanocytes   melanin   pigmentation   pigment   epidermis/

Henna as a Sunblock
/Melanocytes   melanin   pigmentation   pigment   epidermis/

Henna and Jnun
/jnun   djin   djinn   genie   malevolent  jinniya   jenniya   cat   tortoise   cyclone   culture   folklore/

Patterns for Henna and Jnun
/protection   warding   tortoise   wolf   jnun   djin   djinn   genie/

Paste from Fresh Henna Leaves
/grind   fresh   tamarind   lemon   catechu   simple   patterns/

Henna and Saccharides
/hydrocarbons   sugar   jaggery   honey   fructose   dextrose   sucrose/

Shopping for Fructose and Dextrose
/glucose   dextrose   sucrose   fructose   syrup   maltodextrin   shopping   finding/

Dextrose and Grainy Henna Paste
/dextrose   fructose   sucrose   mixing   picture   sugar/

Turkish Henna
/ottoman   hamam   bath   bathhouse   tradition   Turkey   culture/

Henna and the End of the Ottoman Empire
/culture   history   tradition   Ataturk   cosmetic   beauty   Anatolia/

Turkey:  Henna and the Ottoman Hamam
/Turkey   Ottoman   hamam   bathhouse   women   beauty/  
Henna in 16th Century Turkey
/Codex Vindobonensis   manuscript   illustration   cosmetic   beauty   Turkey   ottoman/
Turkoman Henna
/shirin   nizami   shiraz   patterns   turkey   ottoman   cosmetic   beauty/

Turkish Village Henna: Cord Resist
/cord resist    Turkey    Eid al-Adha    village  history   lace    sprang/

Turkish Night of the Henna: Symbolism and Practice in the Late 20th Century
/coin resist     cord resist      Kina Gecesi     Turkish village     men's Night of the Henna/

19th Century Turkish Kina Gecesi
/Lucy M. Garnett    Fanny Davis    marriage   harem   Ottoman    coins    Night of the Henna/

Henna and War
/war   martyrdom   celebration   killing   victory   history/

Anath Hennas Her Hands to Celebrate Baal's Victory over Mot
/Anath    Baal    War    Virgin Goddess   Mot   Bronze Age   Syria   Ugaritic/

Henna and the Insurrection in the Hadramaut
/Yemen   Mohammed   Caliph   Abu Bakr   protest   rebellion   history/

The Hennaed Guerrilla Fighters in Jerusalem, 70 CE
/Flavius Josephus   Jew   Jewish   Palestine   transvestite   history/

Hennaed Fingernails for Upper Class Men and Military Officers in Zand and Qajar Iran
/Iran   Shiraz   Qajar   Zand   men   fingernails   customs   Jubber Kahn   Afganistan/

The Warrior's Wife Calls the Henna Artist for Victory or Suttee
/battle   customs   India   suttee   outcome   Nai   Nayan/

Judith and Holofernes
/henna   myrtle    Judith   Jewish    Hanukkah    victory     war    traditions/

The Neolithic and Bronze Age Origins of Henna
        /ancient culture   traditions   god   goddess   bronze age   neolithic/

Anath, the Virgin Warrior Goddess:  Victory,  Henna and Grain
/Anath   Virgin Goddess   Fertility   Grains   War   Bronze Age   Baal   Ugaritic/

Step by Step: The Bride's Hand: Artist: Riffat Bahar 14 MB wmv
Watch Riffat Bahar create magnificent patterns on a bride's hand!
/bridal henna    how to     mehndi      artist     Riffat Bahar     excellence    India   South Asia/

"Artist at Work" Kim Brennan (40MB wmv file)
Watch a henna artist create beautiful henna patterns!
/bridal henna    how to     mehndi      artist     Kim Brennan     excellence    India   Hindu/

Meet the Artist: Kim Brennan  (11 MB wmv file)
Watch the author of Mehndi Masala create one of the lovely patterns from her book!
/bridal henna    how to     mehndi      artist     Kim Brennan     excellence    India   Hindu/   Mehndi Masala/

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*"Henna, the Joyous Body Art" 
the Encyclopedia of Henna
Catherine Cartwright-Jones c 2000 
registered with the US Library of Congress
TXu 952-968