Using herbal dyes on organic fabrics, though is becoming a buzzword now-a-days, is not actually a recent trend. The process, dates back to almost 4000 years, and was being practiced more as an art.
Environmentally friendly fibres such as organic cotton, and recycled synthetic fabrics have become more popular among apparel makers. However, during the process of apparel making, though organic fibres are used, chemical dyes are used in the process, which again infects the environment. Some manufacturers use vegetable dyes. But even in these methods of dyeing, some chemicals like copper sulphate and ferrous sulphate are being used as catalysts. This again discharges harmful effluents, making the previous attempts of using organic fibres, and vegetable dyes; futile.
Hence the need for using herbal dyes came into practice. Extracts of herbs are used for dyeing fabrics. They not only have natural, but also medicinal values. This provides health benefits to the end products, and helps the wearer in fighting against diseases such as asthma, hypertension, diabetes and many more. Alluring shades of red, brown, yellow, orange, and green are obtained from herbs.
Herbal dyeing process does not involve any chemical treatment on fabrics. Only natural and certified organic fibres such as silk, hemp, cotton, and wool are used. The dyeing process even stays ahead of organic fabrics in a way that throughout its various stages, only natural processes are used. Even bleaching is done by exposing the cloth to sunlight. To keep the purity and power of the herbs intact, the extracts are directly applied to the fabric. Desizing of the fabric is done by washing the cloth with sea salts, and natural mineral water. Herbally dyed fabrics are mostly used for making undergarments, bed sheets, and pillow covers. These fabrics stay close to the skin, so all the benefits of the herbs are being absorbed by the skin.
Herbs and their healing effects:
Certain herbs have specific medicinal properties:
Indigo: Also known as Neela Amari, this dye protects the wearer against skin diseases. Its ability to provide the beautiful blue hue has made it a preferred option for apparel makers. Applied on clothes, cures giddiness, abdominal diseases, and spleen disorder.
Madder: Used for getting red dye pigments, this herb is a miracle of nature. Cures poisoning, pain in the eyes, ulcer, and vitiation of blood.