Even as smart technical textiles with anti-microbial properties are facing serious sustainability issues, a group of weavers in Kerala is charting a new chapter in sustainable textiles by making their own version of medicinal cloth by applying traditional knowledge of Ayurvedic dyeing with herbs.
The Thiruvananthapuram-based Handloom Weavers Development Society (HLWDS) produces and markets medicinal cloth under the brand Ayurvedic handloom. Clothing items like shirts, sarees, shawls, leggings, mundus (traditional lungi or wraparound for men) and bedsheets are infused with medicinal properties to facilitate recovery or prevention of various ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, asthma, itching and psoriasis by dyeing the fabric or yarn with specific herbs.
These are completely organic textiles with no application of chemical dyes or toxic irritants, and are fully biodegradable. Specific dyes and herbs are used to infuse a fabric for protection against a particular affliction.The concept of medicinal cloth is part of Ayurvedic treatment, wherein the skin is exposed to medicinal herbs infused into clothing, matting or bedding of a patient.
Experiments on the use of medicinal cloth conducted by Ayurveda College in Thiruvanathapuram found encouraging results in case of patients suffering from various skin diseases, arthritis, and blood pressure.
News courtesy : Fibre2fashion.com
Courtesy - Image courtesy: Sarah Shaffer