Henna (Lawsonia inermis) is a flowering plant, native to the semi-arid zones and tropical areas of northern Africa, western and southern Asia incl. India. The name also refers to the dye prepared from the plant. It has been used since antiquity to dye skin, hair and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool and leather.
Henna has been used as a cosmetic hair dye for more than 6,000 years. Commercially packaged henna, intended for use as a fashionable cosmetic hair dye, is available in many countries, and is now particularly popular in India, but also in the Middle East, in Europe and in the United States. The colour that results from dyeing with henna depends on the original colour of the hair, as well as the quality of the henna, and can range from pumpkin orange to cherry auburn to ruby burgundy.
Muslim men use henna, or mehendi, as the hair dye is known locally, as a dye for hair and most particularly their beards. This is considered sunnah, a allegedly commendable tradition of the prophet Muhammad.