Ayurvedic Natural Dye Bath Recipe

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.


The Hidden Power of Plant Dyes in our GMD

The Hidden Power of Plant Dyes in our GMD

 At Bedstraw + Madder we have a continual love affair with plants and flowers.

Within their often-delicate petals or leaves plants contain hidden powers. The bright coloured pigments are actually made of anthocyanins which have healing antioxidant qualities.

Colour also has a secondary effect which often goes unnoticed but which studies show is very impactful.

Colour therapy is based on the idea that colours create an electrical impulse in our brain, which stimulates hormonal and biochemical processes in our body. These processes either stimulate or calm us.

Colour influences our energy system by its vibrations, affecting both our physical and emotional well-being.

By using the right colours, we can change our negative aspects into positive ones, be healthier, and acquire a higher level of consciousness and connectedness to our body and nature.

Whilst we can change the colours in our interiors with a lick of paint actually the easiest way to change the colours around you is through your clothing.

Our underwear is brightly coloured with natural plant dyes. As the first point of contact to your most intimate areas on a daily basis, sitting against your skin it enables you to absorb the healing qualities of the natural plant dyes we use.

How our new GMD range of underwear may be of benefit?

Tacoma Yellow

These sunshine yellow knickers are dyed with Tacoma flowers.

The plant possesses powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activity due to its content of natural chemicals called flavonoids.

Yellow is associated with the solar plexus chakra which is linked with liver, pancreas, digestive system, gallbladder, empowerment and well-being. The chakra is located between the navel and sternum. Yellow is related to the ego and our sense of self-worth, to how we feel about ourselves and how we are perceived by others.

Madder Pink

Our pink knickers are dyed with madder root, a dye that has been used for 2,000 years.

Madder has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine for cold deficiency of spleen and stomach. A powerful anti-inflammatory agent it helps with arthritis, joint pain. Studies show it can raise white blood cell counts in chronic dis-ease. It acts as a good expectorant and is a great skin healer for acne.

Embodying nurturing, unconditional love pink calms and reassures our emotional energies, alleviating feelings of anger, aggression, resentment, abandonment and neglect. Studies have confirmed that exposure to large amounts of pink can have a calming effect on the nerves and create physical weakness in people.

Marigold Orange

Marigold otherwise known as calendula are used to create our orange knickers.

These flowers promote healing. Due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory activity, it helps heal the skin from minor burns and injuries and regenerates new skin cells. It reduces Inflammation and is a great support in chronic skin disease.

The colour orange relates to 'gut reaction' or our gut instincts and stimulates the appetite. It represents endurance, strength, vitality, celebration, self-respect, abundance, joy, openness to others and enthusiasm for life. It supports our creativity. 

Vembalum Purple

Our violet underwear is dyed with the bark of the vembalum tree. 

The bark is used for skin diseases as it has anti-allergic properties. Vembalum is also known for its use in the healing of cuts and wounds.

Violet links to the crown chakra and is associated with the brain and pineal gland. It is linked with our higher consciousness and can have a calming effect.

Bring some colour to your life in more ways than one.

Start with one pair of knickers at a time.

Love + Knickers 

Prim and Ness



Move over plant-based diets, it’s time for plant-based dyes
January 14, 2022

Move over plant-based diets, it’s time for plant-based dyes

Plant burgers are now the norm. Meat-free Mondays are a national phenomenon. The Vegan Butcher has redefined the meaning of the word.   

And just like plant-based diets, plant-based dyes provide unrivalled health benefits. So put down your THIS Isn’t bacon sandwich and learn about why we’re campaigning for clean colour (and then pick your sandwich up again, because THIS Isn’t worth wasting).

Just like ZDHC, we believe in a world without harmful chemicals. Safer products can be made without depleting natural resources. Yes, we’re a small cog in a big machine, but without every cog turning the light will never come on. And so, cemented in years of ancient wisdom, we’re bringing plant dyes back into fashion.


regenerative farming bedstraw and madder

Zero chemicals and zero compromises

 As one of the largest organs in our body, skin is the first and best line of defence humans have. But the introduction of fast fashion puts this at risk. By using natural plant dyes, we’re giving our fabrics the TLC they deserve – and our skin benefits from this too.

 Our intimates are botanically dyed using plants that are gentle to your skin, and kinder to the planet. Plant dyes have been used for thousands of years for their unmatchable health benefits – from anti-inflammatory to antibacterial and hypoallergenic. Our clothing steers clear of harmful chemicals, instead drawing on the vibrant natural colours of Lady Bedstraw yellows, Madder pinks , Indigo blue hues and Verbadum lilacs.

 We’ll always be honest about out methods. As consumers ourselves, we’re well-versed in the frustrating lack of transparency in the industry. To find out what some companies put on their cotton, you might as well don your detective cap. It’s grey and muddy, and difficult to track down the chemicals used. Why should there be a question mark about what you’re putting on your skin?

 regenerative organic cotton bedstraw and madder

Colour fastness: just like our values, our dyes don’t budge  

We know our dyes are safe, but colour fastness is paramount, whereby we measure the resistance of our fabrics colour to change or transfer in the washing process. We are incredibly proud to have met and exceeded industry colour fastness standards. Our methods are tried, independently tested in labs and proven.

Why we’re campaigning for clean colour

Sceptics will mention the agricultural land space that plant dyes take up. But our regenerative farm means that the plants used for our dyes are actually supporting the cotton – it’s a collaborative use of land. Oh, and we’re not using chemicals that are causing cancers. There’s that too.

Celebrating the colours natural colours of nature.. Made by people, powered by plants. Join our campaign for clean colour.

Clean cotton; clean water; clean colour. It’s who we are. It’s what we do.

Learn more about  Bedstraw + Madder —Our pilot programs at the forefront of regenerative textiles and chemical free clothing.

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