Difference Between Henna and Mehndi

Henna vs Mehndi

Henna is a plant whose leaves are dried and powdered to be applied in artistic designs on body parts as its paste leaves dark colored stain on the skin. Henna is considered to be auspicious in eastern cultures, and its stain to be a mark of love from the husband. In the western world, it is considered a type of temporary tattoo and a product that can be used to create beautiful and artistic designs on the human body. There is another word Mehndi that confuses westerners as it is used interchangeably with henna. This article attempts to find out if there are any differences between henna and mehndi.


Henna is the name of a plant whose biological name is Lawsonia Inermis. The plant has been known to mankind since ancient times, and its leaves have been used to make a dye to color not just human skin but also hair, wool, and even leather. Henna is an Arabic word that has been adopted by the western world. Henna is considered a kind of tattoo by people in the west but in eastern countries, henna has become a part of the culture with its presence considered auspicious on functions, festivals and marriages.


In Indian subcontinent, mehndi is the word that is used for henna. The word comes from Sanskrit mendhika. The word finds mention in ancient Hindu scriptures like Vedas and the herb, along with turmeric, has been considered auspicious in Hindu traditions and customs. The paste of mehndi has been used since time immemorial in India to color and condition hair, but its all-important use has been to decorate the hands, feet and other body parts of human beings, especially womenfolk.

The use of mehndi on auspicious occasions, especially marriages, has caught the imagination of the westerners. It is an integral part of all Hindu weddings and there is even a special ceremony called mehndi celebrated with fervor by female friends and relatives of the bride just days before the marriage ceremony.

What is the difference between Henna and Mehndi?

• Mehndi and henna are words that refer to the same plant that has been used to make a dye to color human hair, skin, leather, wool, and many other products since time immemorial.

• While henna comes from an Arabic word, mehndi is a word that comes from a Sanskrit word.

• Henna is more commonly used in Muslim world and the western world, whereas mehndi is used in Indian subcontinent.

• For the western world, henna is merely a dye used to create temporary body art or tattoos, but for people in India and Pakistan, mehndi is a part of their cultures.

• It is believed by elders that a bride that develops dark stain from mehndi on her hands and feet is sure to be showered with love from her husband and mother in law.

• There is a special ceremony called mehndi at the house of the bride just before marriage, celebrated by all her female friends and relatives.