Ayurvedic Dyeing - ancient technique of textile dyeing with natural herbs

Ayurvedic Dyeing - ancient technique of textile dyeing with natural herbs
Origins:
The concept of herbal clothing is derived from Ayurvastra - a branch of Ayurveda, the ancient 5,000-year-old Indian system of Vedic healthcare. “Ayur” is Sanskrit for health, “Veda” means wisdom, and “Vastra” is cloth or clothing.
The royals in South India and their physicians were key to popularize this wisdom of using healing cloths for wellness and treating various ailments.
Skin - the largest organ in our body, when exposed to such herbal formulation, acts as the conduit to deliver therapeutic benefits and wellness. Traditionally these healing clothes have been used in Ayurvedic treatments for a broad range of ailments like diabetes, skin infections, asthma, arthritis, and hypertension,
As the use of such clothes became prevalent among the royalty for treatment of various ailments, they also felt the need to have artisan community who can weave exquisite clothes that look regal and yet retain the therapeutic properties. The artisans and the ayurvedic physicians worked closely to create clothes that healed and provided wellness. They also worked with various herbal blends that gave wellness properties and different hues (colors) to the yarns. These yarns were then used by the artisans to construct elegant patterned clothes like the "mundu" - the garment worn around the waist, "veshti" - clothing put on shoulders on festive occasions and "mundum-neriyathum" - a set of 2 mundu worn by women like a saree.

How is "Ayurvedic dyeing" different from "natural dyeing" and "synthetic dyeing"?
Yarns or clothing can be dyed with the extracts obtained from various natural sources including animals and plants.
In "Ayurvedic dyeing", the extracts are obtained purely from plants and the focus is on creating the right blend that provides wellness and mellow hues without the use of any chemicals or color fix agents.

In "natural dyeing", on the other hand, some chemicals such as copper sulfate and ferrous sulfate, are used as catalysts / mordants when dyeing is done with vegetable dyes. The focus here is to ensure the colors are extracted from natural sources, which is a good alternative compared to the synthetic dyes that are detrimental to our health, health of the workers who use the dyes and our environment.

The bane of the Textile Industry is the dyeing process and is the main contributor to making the Textile Industry one of the most polluting one in the world. "synthetic dyeing" process, on the other hand, uses a range of chemicals to prepare the yarn for color fixing. The yarn is then immersed in a soup of chemical dye that gives the bright color tones to the yarn, In addition, the industry also uses a variety of chemicals to prepare the cloth or yarn for a final finish like wrinkle-free, smooth texture etc. The net effect is the clothing is a chemical soup that is potentially toxic and could have harmful effects on the human body. The other effect which many turn a blind eye is the impact on the workers who work in factories and are exposed to such chemicals on a daily basis. Although regulations are in place to ban the use of a certain class of dyes, we believe that regulations have their limitations. More work needs to be done to study the long-term impact of even the permissible dyes of today.

Choosing nature - not an easy choice.
It is not an easy choice for manufacturers to switch from "synthetic dyeing" to "natural dyeing" or "Ayurvedic dyeing". The scale of demand is a huge challenge. The demand and consumer appetite play a huge role in why manufacturers are looking for new technology and a new class of dyes that have a lower impact on the environment.

Natural and Ayurvedic dyes have limitations in terms of the color palette, the consistency with which the colors can be harnessed (ex: natural variation during various seasons) and high photosensitivity of the colors (some colors fade on exposure to sunlight)

The use of natural and Ayurvedic dyeing will have to be a conscious choice for a brand that believes in the goodness that nature provides and willing to provide products to folks who are willing to accept such products.
The best choice is perhaps not going for natural or synthetic dyes per se, but going for products that have the least harmful impact on people and nature. The other factor that could possibly help the cause of low impact on the environment is a behavior change in consumption.

We at ayuray believe in the conscious choice that we have made and we hope our patrons are appreciative of our choices.

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