The art of adorning palms and feet with mehndi originated in the Indian subcontinent almost six centuries ago. Mehndi can be applied on any part of your body using a toothpick, cone or stencil. This form of ‘temporary tattooing’ is not just hassle-free and completely natural, it has some benefits for the body. So much so that not just in the tropical countries, but also in relatively cooler countries, henna, jangua and other forms of dyeing skin are increasingly becoming popular.
The botanical name of this flowering plant is Lawsonia inermis, and it contains a red-orange pigment, lawsone, also known as hennotannic acid. This pigment that causes the mehndi stain to occur is released by crushing the henna leaves in an acidic medium.
The Persian royals even used it as a body scrub. Buddhists associated mehndi with victory and success in endeavours. Priests used henna for religious ceremonies and rituals.
Over the last few decades, applying trendy and unusual mehndi designs on festivals such as Eid, Teej, Rakhi and Karva chauth has become rather the in-thing to do. And with the growing popularity of mehndi, people are no longer afraid to experiment with various colour variants of henna such as brown, russet, black, dark orange, bright red and so on. Not just the hands, mehndi is used to adorn various other parts of the body. But the best and most efficient therapeutic effect of henna is when it is applied to the feet. Natural mehndi has a soothing, calming and cooling effect. Some of the other most surprising health benefits of henna include its ability to relieve headaches, detoxify the body, improve nail health and texture, protect the skin against UV rays and insect bites, boost hair health, calm the body, reduce inflammation, and speed healing.
That it looks unusual is a bonus.
So go ahead, this Karva chauth adorn those feet for a change. If you apply it on your soles, you will feel the unbelievable cooling effect. Mehndi on the soles not only looks alluring but also calms your body from within.
And the best is, the mehndi need not look like a mehndi. Patterns in the form of a mehndi anklet or toe-rings look like interesting and unique tattoos. Floral patterns, abstract designs, delicate vines look splendid on the feet. Mehndi designs that rely on the simplicity and elegance of the Paisley will always be evergreen. Blooming lotuses are in vogue. Roses, the eternal symbol of romance also look really beautiful on the feet. You can also take inspiration from geometric motifs – especially Moroccan ones!
Do let us know which ones you liked. Please do share a picture if you created a pattern of your own! We would love to share it with the world!
Text by Aarti Kapur Singh