Ground Myrobalan Pods (Terminalia chebula) are a commonly used dye throughout India. They grow primarily in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is an upright tree with small oval leaves and lovely bright yellow flowers. Myrobalan has always been used as a primary component for cotton dyeing in India. It is often employed as a mordant prior to creating brown and black on cotton fabrics. Myrobalan extract overdyed with indigo makes a beautiful teal color. Using higher percentages of myrobalan yields a brownish yellow. The lower percentages yield a light buff color.
The powder is super fine and smells slightly sweet, like cake mix, but it is not edible.
This dye is the finely ground pods of the myrobalan tree, not a concentrated extract. Nonetheless, it is very high in tannin and a good source for mordanting cotton fibers if you want to experiment with using a traditional tannin as a mordant. Use about 15-20 percent on the weight of the fiber to make a bath, then soak scoured fabrics in this solution for an hour or as long as overnight.
Ground Myrobalan Pods are sold in 100 gram packages.