Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between Mehndi and Henna

Mehndi vs Henna

Mehndi and henna are two terms commonly associated with each other. Mehndi and henna are two synonymous terms only each word originated from a different language. “Mehndi” is the Indian word for “henna,” and “henna” is the Arabic word for “mehndi.”

You may also find definitions telling that mehndi is the art of henna painting on the body. Thus, we can also say that mehndi is the result of that henna painting process, and henna is the medium used in creating a mehndi. And because of that, mehndi and henna are often used interchangeably.

If we talk about “henna” alone, it can also mean three things. Henna can either be a flowering plant, a tattoo ink made from the henna plant, or simply a tattoo made with the dye from the henna plant. In other words, henna is a plant, a dye, and a tattoo.
Henna as a flowering plant that only grows in areas with minimum temperatures which are approximately 11 degrees Celsius. The henna plant is a large shrub which can actually grow up to 6 meters in height. It has green, medium-sized and oblong-shaped leaves that grow in pairs. When the henna plant is mature enough, thorns develop at its leaf buds protecting the henna plant from being eaten by animals.

Henna as a dye can be used to color the skin, hair, and fabric. The result of the application of henna dye on the skin can now be called mehndi. Henna as a tattoo or body art is called a mehndi. For several centuries, mehndi has been kept in practice in countries like India, Africa, and even in the Middle East. We are often awed with the beautiful and colorful henna tattoos applied on people’s skin. Mehndi has long been existent because the early people believed that dying the henna plant on the skin would bring luck. Anyone with a mehndi or henna would have good fortune, experience lots of love, and protect himself from evil.
The use of henna during the olden times had proven to be useful. The henna or mehndi had been used to color the manes and hooves of horses. The people had also used henna in coloring their wool products, silk, and skins of animals. The men during those times also used henna to color their beards. Records also show that even pharaohs used the henna plant in dying their hair and nails.

The henna tattoo is only temporary. It can fade naturally in about one to three weeks. During the past, the mehndi or henna were used for wedding ceremonies and other important rites or celebrations. When the leaves of the henna plant are crushed and made into a paste, they can be applied on the skin and leave a beautiful tattoo. To be able to have your own mehndi or henna body art, the painting mediums are sold as powders or pastes.

As of today, several people follow the henna tattoo craze. Since several tattoo designs can be made out of henna, people follow suit. Henna or mehndi is only temporary; thus, people can set aside their worries on how to get rid of it.


  1. “Mehndi” is the Indian word for “henna,” and “henna” is the Arabic word for “mehndi.”
  2. We can also say that a mehndi is the result of that henna painting process, and henna is the medium used in creating a mehndi.
  3. Henna can mean a flowering plant, a dye, and body art.
  4. Mehndi or henna had been used for centuries. In fact, even pharaohs had applied henna on their hair and nails.

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  1. I thought this article would be very accurate and true until I read the summary and the few paragraphs, where the author had said that mehendi is the term for henna in the language of “Indian.” Mehendi is the Hindi term for henna, and Hindi is one of the main languages spoken in the majority of India. It is the main language but there are also many other languages spoken in India, which means there are many more terms for henna in India. For example, Tamil, a language spoken in variety of places in South India and Sri Lanka, the Tamil word for mehendi is Manuthani. Tamil is just one example but there are many more. Because of the author not having prior knowledge of the origin for the topic of this article, the whole thing felt very illegitimate and unreliable.

    Native Hindi Speaker myself and 2nd generation Indian. (From India)

  2. uhhh yeah, also it says mehendi was used for weddings in the past. not true. mehendi is used is for wedding ceremonies even in the present. western culture has taken it for their own means, but its continued, primary cultural use is at weddings or certain religious celebrations.

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