Since the dawn of human civilisation, clothing has been a very prominent part of living standards. Early humans used leaves and other parts of plants/trees to cover the body and with the advancement of age and the discovery of key resources, clothing came more sophisticated. Clothing & Textiles have now become fashion from necessity. The importance of how clothes look on us has become more important than why we wear the clothes. It is no more about the basic need.
While clothing was gaining prominence in society for their portrayal of status and acceptance, there was another practice that developed in ancient India which studied clothing and its affects on our mental and physical wellbeing. This is where Ayurveda comes in.
Ancient Indian medicinal science, and one of the earliest known science to humankind, is all about finding connection between mind, body and soul. The Ayurvedic doctors, called Vaidya, mastered this science that helped people live healthy life long before pharmaceuticals came in picture.
These Vaidyas or doctors started implementing the science of Ayurveda on clothes we wear and a new stream of Ayurveda called Ayurvastra was born. The study involved the use of Ayurvedic herbs to give colours to our clothes and there affect on our body and mind. It eventually was adopted by common people and became a way of clothing for thousands of years to come.
However, lately, the knowledge started getting lost with destruction of Indian texts by the invaders and end of Acharya culture that had wisdom of thousands-and-thousands of years in it. Soon after, synthetic chemical dyes were developed, even Indians forgot about the valuable treasure of knowledge of Ayurvastra.
The clothes that we wear today are a result of chemical intensive manufacturing, which is done in factories. Although these clothes are durable and can be worn for longer durations, their production process involves use of chemicals and raw materials that might not be the best for our health.
When we look back at the lives of our ancestors, there is so much to learn. We had an ocean of knowledge in terms of those beneficial teachings and practices that have been passed from our previous generations as a legacy, but it exists only namesake in today's world.
Let's discuss Ayurvastra, the ancient and natural way of dyeing and making clothes. This process was utilized by the effective use of specific medicinal herbs.