A Journey into Herbal Dye Origins

A Journey into Herbal Dye Origins

Sustainability and natural alternatives are gaining momentum in the fashion realm where the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda is finding a renewed relevance. At the heart of this revival lies the art of herbal dyeing, called as Ayurvastra - an age-old practice deeply rooted in the ancient Indian system of natural medicine. These systems are now being recognised and highly empowered by the government of India under AYUSH Ministry, an acronym of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. Here we will look into the origins of herbal dyeing, exploring its historical significance, modern-day applications, and the burgeoning market of Ayurvedic textiles.


There is so many evidence that cloth processed with medicinally rich herbs is used for the treatment of wounded soldiers in the war. The wounded soldier wrapped with herbal dyed handloom fabrics for curing the wound which is called as cloth wrapping treatment. Even now the famous martial art Kalaripayattu which is based on all martial art throughout the world used Veeralipattu are seen dressed in red dyed with Kumkum made from turmeric and lime.
Even now, in many parts of India new born babies are taken in herbal processed towels to immunize against micro-organisms infections.

Ayurveda recognizes the healing properties of herbs and plants, utilizing them not only for medicinal purposes but also for various other applications, including dyeing fabrics. In South India, 18 Sidhhas are considered as ancient scientists and scholars who have contributed in many fields such as Medicine, Astrology, Astronomy, Vasthu, Martial Arts, Meditation, etc. These siddhas also taught the art of Ayurvedic dyeing and making clothes with Ayurvedic Properties. The primary sidhhar named Agastiyar, who lived very near to our place Balaramapuram. Even now, there is a hill named Agasthiyar Kooda, where he lived and taught sidhhas to this disciple. We also had a temple dedicated to Agasthiyar for his contribution to siddha and Ayurvedic Textile in Balaramapuram, now called Ayurvastra.

After Agasthiyar, his disciple contributed many new ideas in siddha and was promoted by Cheras, who ruled the southern part of Kerala with his capital at Padmanabhapuram. Ayurvedic textiles are made by the weavers and supplied to kings and royal family. After the British rule in India, the Trivancore kings (heirs of Cheras) had an agreement with the British Government not to invade the country and paid tributes. Slowly Ayurvedic textiles become losing its importance.

Herbal dyeing is one step ahead of organic life style. It supports the core concept of organic to eliminate the impact of harmful chemicals and pesticides. It avoids many ailments that are common with conventional clothing. Ayurvastra clothing helps to restore balance within the body systems and strengthen immune system.


Ayurvedic dyeing techniques in the modern times have evolved, blending traditional knowledge with contemporary innovations. Today, artisans and designers are rediscovering these age-old practices, infusing modern fashion with the timeless elegance of natural ways of dyeing.

The USP of Ayurvedic textiles is their medicinal – holistically wellness properties. Fabrics dyed using Ayurvedic principles and herbs are believed to possess therapeutic benefits, ranging from soothing skin ailments to promoting overall well-being. This infusion of wellness in fashion has sparked a growing interest in Ayurvedic dyeing among consumers seeking sustainable and holistic alternatives.
Herbal textile is now often used in making bed covering, under garments, towels, meditation cloths, sleepwear. Another such a garment those stay close to human skin so that all its benefit could be absorbed through the skin. The technology for making herbal clothing is also being utilized for making coir mats, mattresses, door mats and carpets. Herbal textile helps in fighting many common diseases such as hyper tension, heart ailments, asthma and diabetes.



The market for natural dye clothing is experiencing a significant surge, driven by consumers' increasing awareness of environmental issues and their desire for ethical fashion choices. Ayurvedic textiles or Ayurvastra, with emphasis on sustainability and wellness, occupy a unique niche within this market. From designers to small home-grown brands people are discovering and utilizing this technique for their eco collection if not it’s the basis.


In a world where fast fashion dominates, the revival of herbal dyeing techniques rooted in Ayurveda offers a refreshing alternative. Beyond mere aesthetics and frugal trend, Ayurvedic textiles embody a deeper connection to nature and oneself resulting into a commitment at sustainable living. As the demand for ethical and environmentally friendly fashion continues to grow, the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda serves as a guiding light, inspiring a new generation of conscious consumers and innovative designers alike.

Scope for Ayurvastra is endless, and it is the way to keep people healthy. This principle is used to maintain good health by adopting a healthy way of life. It has stated receiving awareness from all the parts of the world. Development of eco-friendly fabrics helps to create a platform for implementation of Ayurvastra as a sure alternative to synthetics, thereby an increase a stable economy providing sustenance and livelihood to the remaining artisans associated with it.

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