Ayurvedic Natural Dye Bath Recipe

We believe the smallest of changes can have a positive ripple effect. By infusing our organic textiles with medicinal properties our plant based products can have a naturally good effect on your skin. 

Bedstraw + Madder's Co founder Vanessa Barker, recently visited herbal wear founder Sunil Rathod in Andhra Pradesh (India) to learn some new tricks with Ayurvedic natural dyeing. 

​The results are a sappan wood and madder pink, limited edition version of our new GMD knicker that starts our basket range of limited edition and one-off pieces using natural dyes.

Each item celebrating the power of plant power and craftsmanship. Each piece a unique work of art.  ​Providing you with a completly chemical free experience. Clothing that has a positive effect on the environment and actively revives it. And natural plant pigments that support your body too!

In addition to the pink dye bath Sunil shared a yellow Ayurvedic recipe using ancient wisdom and only natural non toxic ingredients such as Tacoma Flowers and Turmeric.


Try experimenting yourself at home on a pair of our undyed GMD knickers.

Ayurvedic Natural Dye Recipe


250gms of soap nuts

Ash water

Undyed GMD knickers

3 handfuls of each Tacoma flowers,  Kadukai, maribilium, 3 types of turmeric, Tolsi,

1 cup each of Thick leaf lavender and aloe Vera


250 gms of soap nuts added to 5 litres of boiling water. After 30 minutes ash water is added, with no use of alum mordant to fix colour to fabrics. 

Pure ash is created from burning any biomass and mixing with water. 

To make wood ash water, remove the wood ash from a wood-burning stove, put it in a bucket or large lidded container and fill up with water. Leave the mixture to soak for a minimum of 1 week. By this time the liquid will have become yellow in colour and feel "slick" or slimy to the touch. To use it as an alkaline modifier, remove the liquid without disturbing the ash sediment and soak the materials in it, adding more water as necessary. It is best not to apply heat as this can harm woollen fibres. We filled up a small mason jar 1/3 full with wood ash then filled the jar 2/3 full with water, closed the jar and shook everything up.

Our undyed natural organic cotton, unbleached knickers are then washed with the hot soap nuts solution. This is known as scouring and allows the colour to be absorbed.

Add ingredients Tacoma flowers,  Kadukai, maribilium, 3 types of turmeric, Tolsi, Thick leaf lavender and aloe Vera to boiling hot water to create the herbal soup and cook on a stove or open fire for a further 45 minutes, then strain to leave the remaining  milky mud coloured residue. 

Add our Classic GMD ecru to the brew and continue to heat at temp of about 60 degrees to embue with yellow tones.

You can use string or elastic tied around the knickers in a small bundle to create your own unique patterns.


February 20, 2023 — Primrose Matheson