Textiles come to our help in every walk of life. Textiles are vulnerable to toxins and micro-organisms that cause infections and allergic reactions. A variety of textile products such as herbal textiles and clothing have arrived in the market to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and hygiene. Most home textile products come in contact with the skin. So, it is advisable that herbally treated fabrics are used since they are not chemically treated and are eco-friendly.

What are herbal textiles?

Textiles and clothing infused with medicinal herbs are becoming popular especially, in urban India. Textiles dyed from the extractions from various herbs are called herbal textiles. Their dyeing does not use any chemicals. The dyeing process uses vegetable dyes, copper sulphate and ferrous sulphate. Hence, there is a big difference in herbal dyes and vegetable dyes.

The concept of herbal textiles has been derived from Ayurveda, the ancient Indian method of Vedic healthcare. Ayurvastra is a branch of Ayurveda. In Sanskrit, ayur means health and veda means wisdom while vastra means clothing. Ayurvastra is made from organic cotton fabric infused with special herbs and oils to give health benefits. Ayurvastra has been used since long to treat diabetes, skin infections, psoriasis, hypertension, asthma, arthritis, rheumatism, high blood pressure, eczema and even some types of cancer.

The making of herbal textiles

Every step in making herbal textiles is carefully and strictly monitored. Manufacturing herbal textile begins with 100 per cent organic yarn that goes into the making of 100 per cent organic fabric. No chemical process is involved while dyeing and processing the fabric. The fabric or yarn used in herbal textiles is certified organic cotton, natural silk, wool, jute, hemp and their natural blends. The fabrics have to pass through various stages of treatment before they are turned into finished products.

1. Desizing: This process involves washing the processed grey cloth with natural mineral-rich water and sea salt. This removes sizing, gums and oils used in the process of weaving.

2. Bleaching: The bleaching process is done with biodegradable, organic cleaning agents and surfactants such as Saptala, Phenila etc. and dried naturally under direct sunlight.

3. Dyeing: The organic yarn/fabric is dyed in a mixture of herbal dyes which is made depending on the ailment to be treated. These are made by blending different medicinal herbs, plants, flowers, roots and barks. The dyes are made with utmost care. The temperature of the dyes, duration of dye soaks, blends of herbs and the equipment used are carefully prepared and controlled. Almost all colours can be prepared from the herbs. After dyeing, the cloth is allowed to cool. It is repeatedly washed and then dried in the shade.