For most people Henna may be just a intricate, beautiful design but the history of Henna tattoos trace all the way back to Ancient Kemet (Ancient Africa). Henna was then a new language that the Kemetic people where incorporating into the new land.
The art of henna (called mehndi in Hindi & Urdu) has been practiced for over 5000 years in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East. There is some documentation that it is over 9000 years old. Because henna has natural cooling properties, people of the desert, for centuries, have been using henna to cool their bodies.
Hina, the henna tree, the mignonette tree, and the Egyptian privet
Henna is considered an herb, and has long been known to have healing qualities. It is used topically and usually not ingested or inhaled. In ancient times it has been applied to the skin surface for such ailments as headaches, stomach pains, burns (including sunburns), open wounds, as a fever reducer, athlete’s foot and even the prevention of hair loss. It is also a sunblock and has been used on the noses of animals to prevent sunburn.
Best tattoo alternative yes, but it is a spiritual practice and form of art that is used to connect, heal and embellish.
~ Henna around Africa ~