India is an efficient nation with a very rich culture and heritage. It has a history that is beyond what technology can answer. One such example is of Ayurvastra. It is the med cloth that can cure diseases and infections. It is constructed by weaving organic yarns into a fabric and then imparting medicinal properties into that fabric by dyeing it with medicinal herbs. This fabric is not much popular among people from non-textile backgrounds as it looks outdated in front of the modern dressing culture that consists of a lot of new varieties and designs of fabrics that have better aesthetic properties. The modern-day clothing culture mostly consists of knitwear. Though ayurvastra was traditionally made with woven fabric, it is now made with knitting to match with the modern clothing culture. Knitted ayurvastra has its own benefits and can be potentially used on an everyday basis to prevent our bodies from certain diseases and infections we suffer due to our lifestyle.
The word ‘Ayurveda’ is a Sanskrit word that literally means lifelong knowledge. ‘Ayurvastra’ means ayurvedic fabric. This fabric is imparted with medicinal properties that could cure numerous diseases way before technology could. This fabric is traditionally made by weaving the organic natural yarns into a fabric and then dyeing it with medicinal herbs that consist of the ability to cure numerous diseases. Due to the changing trends in the clothing culture ayurvastra was on the verge of losing its charm. Textile experts soon came up with ayurvastra from knitted fabric. Due to this kind of ayurvastra, Ayurveda lovers can now wear ayurvastra while they don’t can wear modern clothes and are not limited to the traditional ones.
Skin has the ability to absorb toxins from the water, and it also has the ability to absorb herbs contained in natural dyes. The medicinal properties of these herbs are released into the body, improving the skin’s ability to block and resist harmful substances. Ayurvastra clothing comes in a number of colours due to the use of about 200 herbs. Each colour is made from a mixture of one or more predominant plants/herbs, such as Turmeric in Turmeric clothing, as well as 40 or more others, all of which are carefully mixed and prepared medicinal herbs, plants, flowers, roots, and barks.
Organic cotton, which is grown without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilizers, is the most commonly used fabric. Silk, wool, coir, linen, hemp banana, nettle, bamboo, and other natural materials were also used in the preparation of Ayurvastra.
Process of Ayurvastra
The dyeing method tries to keep the medicinal properties of the textiles intact. Dye fixation is carried out with the aid of natural and non-toxic resources of high medicinal value. This approach employs novel strategies to ensure that the consistency and quantity of colors are constant over long periods of time. All natural textiles such as cotton, jute, linen, and silk, as well as woven and knit fabrics, can be dyed using this innovative technique.’ Herbal dyeing is used on textiles such as raw fiber. Fabric that is woven. Fabric that has been knitted or fabric that is not woven. Depending on the application and ailment, the fabric will take anything from three to seven days to produce.’ Ayurvastra is produced in one of two ways. The cotton is first medicated before spinning, and the cloth is then dyed after weaving. In each of the processes, the following four steps are essentially incorporated:
- Bleaching – The raw yam is washed with a natural bleaching agent before being dipped in Ayurvedic concoctions for anything from 4 hours to several days at a temperature regulated setting. Both scouring and bleaching the grey doth are done with camel/buffalo/cow/sheep dung.’ A natural gum aids in the encapsulation process. It is then allowed to dry before being carefully washed to remove any loose parddes. To remove the sizing and gums used in the spinning process, the hand loomed doth is washed in natural mineral-rich water and sea salts.
- Mordanting – A variety of natural mordants are used to make the colors bright and quick, such as Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa) bark, Kenduka (Diospyrose ebenum), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) fruit extracts, and so on. Clays containing alum. Iron clays are used as a mordant as well. Mordants such as copper, chrome, zinc, and tin, on the other hand, are avoided for environmental purposes.
- Medication (Dying) – Depending on the illness or ailment being treated, the organic cotton yarn or cloth is medicated in a carefully managed mixture of herbal medicine preparations called Kashayas. Instead of dyeing, the term drug is used because the drugs themselves provide natural colour to the fabrics. The temperature of the Kashayas, the length and number of medicinal soaks, the herbal mix, and the equipment are all closely monitored. The medicated cloth is allowed to cool before being washed several times to remove any loose particles and dried in the shade. In the printing of the textile article, Kachuka Aata or Guar gum is used as an adjuvant. Ayurvedic clothing can be rendered in a number of ways, including red, yellow, green, blue, orange, and brown. Ivory and black,’ she says.
Ayurvastra and knitting
Ayurvastra is produced in one of two ways. The yarn is either processed prior to weaving or the fabric is dyed after weaving. Herbal dyes are often applied directly to textile fibers before weaving, such as raw cloth, or to woven, knitted, and non-woven fabrics, such as stitched garments.
In this world of fast fashion, the traditional clothing style of ayurvastra seems outdated. Knitted ayurvastra garments not only enhance the health but also keep the wearer updated with fashion trends.
Traditional ayurvastra is made with woven cloth. But to keep up with the increasing demand for knitted garments, various companies have made knitted ayurvastra available. This kind of ayurvastra is made from mostly organic, and sometimes from vegan or sustainable yarns. These yarns are obtained in organic ways, i.e. without the use of any chemicals. They are further processed into knitting, and once the fabric is ready it is dyed and imparted with medicinal properties with the help of herbs and medicinal plants.
Colors obtained are natural colors and they are capable of curing numerous diseases and infections. Wearing an ayurvastra regularly has a lot of health benefits. These benefits stay lifelong if that cloth is worn for a long time.
Knitted ayurvastra offers a good variety to ayurvastra lovers. Ayurvastra that is generally made in cotton or silk is limited to Indian wear due to the look of the fabric. Everyone wants to look fashionable and trendy which might sometimes not be possible with regular ayurvastra but it is definitely possible with knitted ayurvastra which offers a lot of varieties in t-shirts, shirts, skirts, pants, etc.
These fabrics have medicinal properties as good as the woven ayurvastra. They can be easily used for casual wear. Apart from clothing, ayurvastra is gaining a lot of popularity abroad in the form of yoga mats and sleeping mats. All the ayurvastra products are popular due to their effective results and benefits.
Use of knitted ayurvastra should be encouraged not only prevent the environment but also the health hazards that we shall face in the coming future.
Benefits of knitted ayurvastra
Following are the benefits of ayurvastra knitwear.
- Ayurvastra knitwear is a good option for ecofriendly and body friendly clothing.
- It helps in curing a number of chronic as well as acute diseases.
- Our skin absorbs medicinal benefits of natural herbs instead of chemicals.
- Knitwear generates a lot of synthetic waste; ayurvastra knitwear is a good option for organic knitted clothing.
- No use of chemicals also means less chemical effluents and less water pollution.
- Use of ayurvastra t-shirts while sleeping will give appropriate sleep and prevent skin infections.
Ayurvastra is the doctor of future. Its scope is endless. It keeps people healthy in various ways. Traditionally it was made on the woven fabric. Recently, various companies have made knitted ayurvastra available to keep up with the increasing consumption of knitted garments.