If you love natural, plant-based dyes, you’ll love this pure indigo powder. The botanical name of the indigo plant is Indigofera tinctoria. The plant has some other common names including True Indigo, and Dye Indigo.
Use tiny quantities of indigo powder to add a beautiful blue color to your home-made candles. Indigo can also dye all natural fibers. It gives beautiful shades of blue, from the palest summer sky to an almost purple black. The color achieved depends on the type of vat, the concentration of indigo, and the number of dips. To find out more about dyeing fabric with indigo, visit the Maiwa’s Natural Dyes website.
If you have a garden, you could try growing this ancient dye plant. It’s a perennial plant reaching a height of 1-2 meters (3 to 6 feet) upon maturity. Indigo is one of the major sources of deep blue dye, which is obtained from the leaves.
Available in these sizes:
How dye is extracted from indigo
The leaves and twigs do not actually contain indigo but colourless precursors that must be extracted and then processed in order to produce the indigo dye. The harvested leafy branches are placed in a tank containing water to which some lime has been added, and are weighted down with planks. After some hours of fermentation, the liquid is drained off and then stirred continuously for several hours. Afterwards the solution is left to rest and the insoluble indigo settles to the bottom as a bluish sludge. The water is drained and after the indigo has dried, it is cut into cubes or made into balls.
To dye textiles, indigo is reduced to a soluble form by a fermentation process under alkaline conditions. In traditional preparations of the dye, various reducing agents such as molasses are used, together with coconut-milk, bananas and the leaves of guava (Psidium guajava). The alkalinity is maintained by adding lime. After the textile has been dipped into solution it turns blue when exposed to the air.
Indigo is also used in traditional medicine, to treat a wide range of disorders. People also use it as ingredient for skin-refining masks.
Inedible. Do not eat this powder. It’s for external use only.