Indians have been considered as forerunner in the art of natural dyeing. Natural dyes find use in the coloring of textiles, drugs, cosmetics, etc. Owing to their nontoxic effects, they are also used for coloring various food products. In India, there are more than 450 plants that can yield dyes. In addition to their dye-yielding characteristics, some of these plants also possess medicinal value. Though there is a large plant resource base, little has been exploited so far.
Natural dyeing involves use of mineral mordant i.e. metallic salts either before or post dyeing process Though this practice offers little benefits, but makes the process environmentally an unhealthy one.
ADVANTAGES AND LIMITATIONS OF NATURAL DYES:
Natural dyes are less toxic, less polluting, less health hazardous, non-carcinogenic & non-poisonous. Added to this, they are harmonizing colors, gentle, soft and subtle, and create a restful effect. Above all, they are environment friendly and can be recycled after use. Although natural dyes have several advantages, there are some limitations as well. Tedious extraction of coloring component from the raw material, low color value
and longer time make the cost of dyeing with natural dyes considerably higher than with synthetic dyes.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF NATURAL DYES:
Many of the plants used for dye extraction are classified as medicinal and some of these have recently been shown to possess antimicrobial activity. Punicagranatum L.and many other common natural dyes are reported as potent antimicrobial agents owing to the presence of a large amount of tannins. Several othersources of plant dyes rich in Naphthoquinones such as lawsone from Lawsonia Inermis L. (henna), Juglone from walnut and Lapachol from Alkannet are reported to exhibit antibacterial and anti fungal
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