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Henna is a thorny shrub of the Lythraceae family, up to 6m tall.

It has been cultivated in the Maghreb for a long time, as well as in a large part of tropical Africa and was brought by the Egyptians long before the arrival of the Arabs who then spread it in sub-Saharan Africa to Mauritania and Mali and to Andalusian Spain. This is clear from the area of use of the Arabic root of this word and the virtues which are attributed to it in Muslim countries. There, the henna flower (the tree “which grows in paradise”) also has a religious connotation since its flower is said to have been the Prophet's favourite. It is said that this tree grew for the Prophet's daughter and that she was the first woman to make an adornment of its red colour.

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