Botanists believe the henna plant, Lawsonia inermis, originated in Persia. It grew extensively in Egypt and was carried to India where it was used since at least 700 AD for decorating hands and feet. Some sources claim that the Moguls took the use of henna to India in the 12th Century CE, centuries after use in the Middle East and North Africa. There is evidence to support that the tradition of mehndi originated in North Africa and the Middle Eastern countries during ancient times.
One of the earliest documentations of henna use comes from ancient Egypt, where it is known to have been used to stain the fingers and toes of the Pharaons prior to mummification.