Myrobalan Extract (a natural substitute for tannic acid & gallnut extract)
1) What is Myrobalan? Myrobalan (Terminalia chebula) is a deciduous tree that grows in Asia, mainly in the foothills of the Himalayas. The dye comes from the dried fruits, which are ground into a powder. Myrobalan is rich in tannin and can be used both as a mordant and a dye for cotton and other plant fibres. The word myrobalan has a Greek origin, it comes from ‘muron’ which means balsam or ointment and ‘balanos’ which means acorn.
2. What colours does Myrobalan extract produce?
dyed with myrobalan + madder, indigo or iron
Myrobalan is a great dye to modify colours on cotton. On its own it produces butter yellows. Try over dyeing it with indigo for teals and with madder for oranges. The addition of a little iron will produce mossy greens and grey greens; larger amounts of iron produce blue-greys and steel-greys.
3. How do I use Myrobalan extract as a mordant? You can use it instead of gallnut extract or tannic acid as the source of tannin when following one of the cotton mordant recipes. Use 15 to 20 grams of myrobalan extract per 100 grams of scoured cotton followed by a second bath with 7 to 10 grams of aluminium acetate. If you are using myrobalan as a mordant, it is important to use myrobalan before the aluminium acetate in order to achieve darker and brighter colours. Bear in mind that myrobalan will add a yellow undertone to your fabric.
Use myrobalan as a mordant to overdye your cotton to get beautiful teals with indigo, bright oranges with madder and steel-greys with iron.
Make a paste with 1 teaspoon (5 grams) myrobalan extract and a small amount of warm water. Fill a saucepan with water and add myrobalan extract paste. Add the pre-wetted mordanted fibre. Bring the dye bath to a gentle simmer and then keep at that temperature for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring gently from time to time. Leave overnight to cool.
If you plan to overdye your cotton, we suggest you follow the procedure for using myrobalan as a mordant instead (see number 3 above), otherwise you will get pale teals with indigo, duller oranges with madder and paler greys with iron.
5. How much cotton does Myrobalan extract dye? 20 to 30 grams of myrobalan extract will dye 100 gram of cotton fabric butter yellow. We suggest you experiment, as dye colours will vary with the type of fibre, the mordant and the quality of water.
6. What is Myrobalan extract? Our myrobalan extract is shipped as a beige crystalline powder that is very stable and of high colour fastness. It is produced using processes that respect the environment.
Learn more about dyeing with natural dye extracts: