The Healing Fabrics of Balaramapuram

Jul 01, 2012 | Vol. 4, Issue 3
315 Views | 1 Comment

The concept of Ayur Vasthra – the Ayurvedic cloth-has been introduced by Kuzhivila family with the help of the Handloom Weavers Development Society at Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram. The use of such eco-friendly medicinal fabric is believed to be good for reducing high blood pressure controlling, diabetes, rheumatism, arthritis or psoriasis. Established in 1989, the HWDS has then developed more than 700 self help groups in and around Balaramapuram with a mission to provide employment to weaver families and women empowerment.

Ayurveda, the traditional healing practice which sprouted in India, some thousands of years ago is well acknowledged and practiced in Kerala from time immemorial. But the concept of Ayur Vasthra  the Ayurvedic cloth-has been introduced by Kuzhivila family with the help of the Handloom Weavers Development Society at Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram. The use of such eco-friendly medicinal fabric is believed to be good for reducing high blood pressure controlling, diabetes, rheumatism, arthritis or psoriasis.

Ayur in Sanskrit means Life and Vastra means garments. The Ayurvastra garments are made out of yarns of organic cotton fabric infused with organic herbs and medicinal plant extracts that promote health and cure special diseases depending on the blends of herbs and oils used in it. Ayurvastra is devoid of any toxic chemicals and irritants and is absolutely organic and bio-degradable. The clothes are bleached in cow's urine (gomuthram), which according to Ayurveda has many medicinal values. In Ayur vastra, Dyes used are important and defines the healing nature of the cloth.  The roots, flowers, leaves, seeds and barks of different herbs are used to get these colors.

The society has been done several experiments to ensure the effectiveness of Ayurvastra and it has been proved that a marked improvement had been witnessed in patients suffering from eczema, psoriasis and rheumatism after using bedding, rugs and towels made from Ayurvastra for one month. They are also used in the treatment of a broad range of diseases such as diabetes, skin infections, hypertension and high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, and even some forms of cancer. Ayurvastra helps to restore the balance of one's body systems and reinforce the immune system.

Ayurvastra cloth is often used for sleepwear, bed sheets, towels, and meditation clothes. Coir mats are also made with this method for which the fibers are soaked in Ayurvastra dyes and then woven into mats. Nowadays Ayurvastra cloth is also used to make sarees, churidars and similar outfits.

Established in 1989, the Handloom Weavers Development Society with a mission to provide employment to weaver families and women empowerment. HWDS has then developed more than 700 self help groups in and around Balaramapuram. Their experimentation with Ayurvedic dyeing has been one of their most successful product diversification initiatives. Generally, natural dyes were used in India, before the invention of chemical dyes. It was Ayyappan Vaidyar the great grand uncle of the present Kuzivila family, who utilized the Ayurveda dyes in cloths to cure some ailments of the royal family. The present generation of the family of late revived this technique in 1992, which gave a thrust to the handloom industry. With the help of the Government of Japan and Government of India, the society established their Ayurvedic dye unit in 2004.

Satish Kumar, one of the members of the Kuzhivila family explained the application of Ayurvedic extracts like turmeric is applied on fabrics for yellow shade and it enhances skin beauty and radiance, detoxification and rejuvenation. Basil (Tulasi) is used to offer stress relief, enhance sleep and immunity. Along with the predominant color other herbs are also used to get the medicinal effect. Some herbs like sandal, devtharu etc gives a nice fragrance to the fabric and clothing.

About 500 herbs are used now to get variety of colors and effect. The Pharmacology department at the Government Ayurveda College, Thiruvananthapuram conducted a month long trial by using bedding, rugs and towels made from Ayurvasthra and they found that it helped the patients who suffered from diseases eczema, psoriasis and rheumatism. Apart from the value addition to the handloom products, the demand for herbal dyes gives employment opportunities for many people especially the tribals.

According to Rajan, Chief Dyeing Technician and a member of  Kuzhivila family, about 500 herbs are presently using for making Ayurvedic  fabrics and cloths with 40 medicinal effects. These herbs are planted in the compound also as mother plants cum demonstrative garden. The Ayur-cloths with the price range of Rs.200/- to Rs.25000/- per meter is available in their factory outlet, adjacent to the factory as well as their showroom at Balaramapuram town.

They have recently introduced Ayur homes, based on the same principle of Ayurveda, which uses herbal mix for plastering and herbal wood for doors, windows and interior.

Balaramapuram is a weaver's settlement area; the Saliyas a weaving community, a sub cast of Hindus had migrated from Thirunalveli and Nagercoil, about 250 years ago, during the rule of Balarama Varma of erstwhile Travancore kingdom. The village is famous for the production of handloom textiles meant for the contemporary Kerala market.

Location/access: near Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram

Timing: 8am-5pm,

For info/visit:

Komala kumaran- secretary
Handloom Weavers Development Society
Kuzhivilakath, Thumpodu
Thiruvananthapuram-695 501, Kerala
Ph:  0471-2225292,2225192,  9847204261
www.handloomweavers.org

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Comments

Namaskaram, I have a Boutique at Hosur. I would like to know more about your products.Can you please mail me your list and pictures and prices ?. Thank you.

Add new comment