'Herbal Textile-A glorious olden tradition and its market potential'

In Herbal textile discussion we are not including vegetable dye because in that dyeing also chemical like copper sulphate and ferrous sulphate is use as catalysts. Herbal textile in other word we can call as ayurvedic textiles and in this dyeing no chemical is used.

Some of herbal dye name is mentioned below:

  1. Neela Amari or Indigo: If garment is dyed in this herbal dye this would help fight skin disease. Panchakarma ayurvedic shirts dyed in indigo.
  2. Ramacham or Cuscus Grass: If garment is dyed in this dye this would help fight asthma disease.
  3. Manjistha: A herbal variety of tamarind: Nilgari sari is dyed with this herbal dye.
  4. Turmeric: Agasthya saris are dyed with this herbal dye.
  5. Sandalwood paste: Bed sheet is dyed with this herbal dye.
  6. Neelakoduvali: etc:

This herbal textile can resist and fight diseases like hypertension, heart ailments, asthma and diabetes depending upon the herb used to make the dyes. In herbal textile we can produce all kinds of hues of reds, yellows, browns, orange and greens. In Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) a village known as Balaramapuram some weavers supply handloom textiles dyed in herbal. In Balaramapuram; Handloom Weavers Development Society (HLWDS) has exported herbal and organic textile worth Rs.50 Lakh to the clients in the US, Europe and Japan. (According to "India Today" report).

There is increasing demand for herbal textile with in our country also. But this industry needs strong motivation from Government end to survive the competitions from regular cloth. Herbal textiles are priced more competitively than regular cloth due to low production cost. Another point favorable for this herbal textile is their affordability. The lower cost production keeps the price of these textiles low. For example if a kilo of chemical dye average costs Rs.3500 per kg while this herbal dye can have by just Rs.150 a kilo. The HLWDS sari therefore is priced above Rs.300 as compared to silk sari going up to Rs.15000.

The Japanese Government has given HLWDS a grant of $40,218 under its grant assistance for glass root Human Security Projects.

So use herbal textile garment, bed sheet etc to make long life to this herbal industry.


India today magazine, 2004 edition


This article is written to just share our oldest tradition of herbal textile which has now lost its existence.

About the Author:

The author is the Product Manager (Reactive Dyes) in Colourtex. Ind. Ltd having vast experience of 12 years in production of cotton, polyester and its blend quality in India and overseas reputed company.