Henna reatment and ornament in Yemen [Archives:2004/729/Last Page]

April 15 2004

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
People in Arab and Islamic countries and other regions of the world, especially in Africa and South-East Asia, are familiar with henna. Henna has been used in connection with ornamenting body parts of women, in addition to utilizing it also as medicine and a hair-coloring substance.
For centuries, henna has been strongly tied with the lives of several societies, the Arab and Muslim societies in particular. People have been using henna and have inherited it from one generation to another until current time. Henna is extracted from a tree similar to a pomegranate tree, a tree of lythracees family.
The henna tree can survive a span of ten years. It has white-ish and sometimes reddish small aromatic blossoms. The blossoms contain aromatic oil. The leaves are picked, dried and ground and then sold in the form of power.
A specific quantity of henna powder is mixed in water to form a dough-like mixture before it is spread on the designated body-part.
The plantation of henna trees is widespread in hot regions. History books indicate that the Arab peninsula, Persia, Egypt, India and some countries in Africa and Australia are the origins of henna before it was transplanted in America and other regions of the world.
Henna substance has earned wide popularity, especially Arabs and Muslims, probably due to the Prophetic testaments existing in the Islam.
Today, many scientific references attest that Henna heals headaches, regulates the heart beat and is used to treat wounds because of the effective antibiotic substance it contains. It is also used to relieve foot pain and to treat kidney stones.

Yemen and Henna
Yemeni people, generation after generation, have been using henna on a broad scale in most regions of Yemen. Henna trees are growing in many parts of the country. Yemeni women remain the greatest utilizers of henna, as it occupies a distinguished status comparable to other makeup and artificial cosmetics used by women. Most Yemeni women use henna on some parts of their bodies (hand, arms and legs) on various occasions, including engagements and weddings. Henna is applied solely by other specialized women, who from time to time create innovative shapes and designs to attract new customers.
Hairdressers, in recent years, especially in major cities, do the henna-work on brides on the eve of wedding night. This habit is also common in the Gulf region and Arab Peninsula. The henna tree is truly a tree worth taking care of.