Oldenlandia umbellata L. syn. Hedyotis umbellata Lam, commonly known as Indian madder or chay root, belonging to the family Rubiaceae, is one of the unexplored dye-yielding plants. The root of Oldenlandia umbellata L. (Indian madder) is a source of natural dyes. A colour-fast red dye can be extracted from the root bar. This dye was once used for dyeing fabric, for making designs in clothing, colouring baskets and other products. Chay-root produces various shades of red depending on the strength of the mordant that fixes dye onto fibre in a process known as mordant-dyeing. With the invention of synthetic dyes, this dye has been forgotten.
In order to promote natural dyes and revive the traditional dyeing knowledge, a study has been initiated to extract red dye from chay root, develop process for dyeing different fabrics using this dye, create various shades using different mordants and assess its dyeing efficacy. Once the extraction and dyeing processes are developed, this technology will be deployed to artisans who promote natural dyeing, an environment friendly process.