Natural Dye Research unit of Gandhigram Trust has developed cotton textiles with medicinal value that can cure diseases, it is claimed. The textiles have been successfully tested at research and development levels. The trust has developed three varieties of cotton fabric – in turmeric, light yellow and dark green colour – that could prevent bacterial infection, cure allergies and enhance immunity.

The green fabric is dipped and processed in turmeric, myrobolon (kadukkai) and indigo (Avuri extracts). Later, it is treated in Tulsi extracts. This will reduce allergic disorders in a person.

The second type of cloth is processed only with turmeric and myrobolon (kadukkai). It is meant for new born and children who lick their dress. The yellow cloth is processed with turmeric and treated with tulsi extract to enhance immunity.

Briefing the value of the new medicinal fabrics, the unit's chief chemist S. Murugesan said that usually children chewed the tip of their dresses.

Chewing medicinal textiles would not harm their health. Actually, the medicinal cloth would help in improving immunity. Moreover, indigo and turmeric clothes would scale down allergy levels, he added.

Introducing the medicinal cloth at a State-level workshop on dissemination of natural dying technologies to volunteers and khadi manufacturers held at Gandhigram on Wednesday, trust secretary M.R. Rajagopalan said that it was successful at R and D level. “We want to improve it further,” he said.

The Gandhigram Trust was working on manufacturing natural water colours used for painting by school children. Existing chemical-based dyes would cause harm to their health but natural colours would not have any adverse impact, he added.

Inaugurating the workshop, Khadi and Village Industries Commission Director M.T. Wakode said clothes dyed in chemical-based colours had several side effects.

Gandhigram Trust should take a lead role in developing and propagating natural dyes, he said. The unit consultant and GRU professor R. Sri Rangarajan said that natural dye production did not cross even 1,000 tonnes whereas present demand for chemical dyes was one million tonnes. Use of natural dyes by khadi units that manufactured 0.5 per cent of total textiles produced in the country would be a big support to it.

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