As far back as 1200 B.C. the ancient Egyptians were using henna on their nails and hair. Henna was also used to dye animal skins, textiles, and men's beards. Once the henna plant’s cooling properties were discovered, painting the skin became a way for the people of India to cool down their body temperatures. In Southindia it's called Maruthani ( Tamil )
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Mehndi art and the usage of Henna has been around for centuries and has not been relegated to just India or the Sub-Continent of India. Several African nations if not the whole continent uses Henna as not only a decorative piece but in other aspects of their culture!!