Ayurvastra, a clothing infused with medicinal qualities is gaining huge popularity among health freaks to ensure complete wellness of body and mind.
In the recent times, Ayurveda has gained traction from global audience for its ability to harness physical and mental wellness. Ayurveda is now being incorporated in all spheres of life including medicine, food, nutrition, skin and hair care products, among others.
As we start to envisage a post-pandemic world, we certainly imagine a thoughtful, mindful, inclusive and compassionate lifestyle that nourishes our wellbeing from within.
You must have also read about the potential medicinal and nutritional benefits that one can derive from herbs taken through supplements, teas, aromatics and tinctures. But do you know that these herbs are being incorporated into clothing too?
Ayurveda, is pervading across all spheres of life and now can also be found in clothing. ‘Ayurvastra’ or Ayurvedic clothing is being favoured by people who want a holistic and healthy lifestyle.
Here is everything you need to know about Ayurvastra, its history, medicinal values and how it can be part of your ayurvedic lifestyle.
What Is Ayurvastra?
In Indian culture, Ayurvastra is actually an age-old concept, though, it only entered into the vouge recently, after years of deprival. The word ‘Ayur’ literally translates to ‘life’ and ‘Vastra’ to ‘clothing’ in Sanskrit language.
Ayurvastra is the combination of Ayurvedic science that is incorporated into clothing and textiles through medicinal, herbal and natural dyeing procedures.
The cloth works as a mediator in carrying the goodness of ayurvedic properties and transfers it to skin, thus providing wellness to those who wear it.
According to Ayurvedic and yogic sciences, there exist three doshas in human body – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. A person is considered healthy when these three doshas are well balanced. Any imbalance in these doshas leads to development of diseases and illness.
Ayurveda accumulates a range of natural remedies that addresses the root of the problem and solves several imbalances that may be occurred due to these doshas. These natural remedies are incorporated into food, medicines and even clothing.
However, wearing Ayurvastra does not cure any diseases or illnesses on its own. Ayurvastra fabrics can only support your ayurvedic lifestyle and facilitate overall wellness if you follow a lifestyle prescribed to get freedom from diseases.
This clothing works the best on people who strictly follow ayurvedic lifestyle as a medium for overall health and wellness.
Nevertheless, the clothing is known for its immense medicinal and natural properties that restore balance in human body and strengthen the immune system of the wearers.
These herb-dyed textiles are known for preventing skin diseases, facilitating better immunity and regulating body temperature.
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How Does Ayurvastra Work?
The skin is one of the most important organs of the human body. It’s large and complex texture is known to be the first line of defence against anything external that may harm human health.
It protects the body from disease agents that constantly try to enter human body. Ayurvastra enhances this protection ability of skin through the help of medicinally rich herbs that are dyed on the fabrics.
When a user wears Ayurvastra, it acts as another layer of skin while simultaneously working as an extension of human skin. These fabrics are completely organic and natural and work just like the pores of the skin that emit and absorb temperature as per the environmental condition.
Ayurvastra fabrics generally come in earthy shades and do not include any synthetic dyes or chemicals. The feeling that one incurs while wearing this herb infused clothing is like wearing nature itself. Ayurvastra is conventionally made through extracts of natural and organic cotton, wool, silk, bamboo, coir, jute, hemp and lenin.
The dye extracts may include several herbs and compounds in ayurveda.
How Is The Fabric Treated?
Ayurvastra is traditionally prepared by bleaching natural cotton or other fabrics like wool, silk, etc with a mixture consisting of cow urine or gaumutra and certain herbs. The fabric is then dried in direct sunlight and then a gumming substance that includes medicinal plants and mixtures is applied to the fabric.
These include Aloe Vera, camphor, turmeric, Kumkum or sometimes even sandalwood. After this process, the fabric is dipped into a concoction called the Kashaya which contains upto 40 medicinal plants that possess many wellness benefits.
The gumming substance applied to the fabrics helps this concoction hold on to it and the fabric is left open in a room for anywhere between 3-15 days depending upon the nature of compositions and mixtures involved in the dyeing process.
This procedure requires a lot of manual labour and careful handling of large pieces of fabric that get heavy when they’re dipped in different dyes and medicinal solutions.
The practice of making Ayurvastra is largely witnessed in south western states of India where fertile soil and temperature are known to be the best for herbal plantations. Karnataka and Kerala are the two places most suitable for growing Ayurvedic herbs, which are used in manufacturing Ayurvastra.
Though, Ayurvastra is traditionally dyed with several natural herbs that have medicinal properties, the utility that one may derive out of wearing them is yet to be discovered. Suggestive evidences in health sciences only say that Ayurvastra promotes general wellness and does not cure any specific illnesse or disease.
Hence, Ayurvastra can be largely considered as a preventative health care and wellness clothing as there is evidence that supports the effectiveness of this clothing in preventing skin diseases like psoriasis, rheumatism, eczema, dry skin among others.
The end products listed as Ayurvastra include different types of textiles including men’s and women’s wear, beddings, towels, face and eye masks, Kurtas, dhotis and innerwear.
Ayurvastra vs Normal Clothing
Research suggests that modern western wear is unsustainable and exerts a huge burden on the environment. A pair of jeans takes 7500 litres of water in its making process unlike traditional Indian wear such as handloom or organic clothing that may take significantly lesser water to process.
Regular daily clothing includes synthetic chemicals that are harmful both to those who wear it and the environment whereas organic clothing promotes human wellness and is eco-friendly.
In conclusion, Ayurvedic clothing or Ayurvastra incorporates an inherent tradition of India that has long lived in a way in which it does not harm the environment.
As we start to adopt lives with greater consciousness, incorporating Ayurvastra can be one of the healthiest ways to start.
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