The Kamala tree (Mallotus philippinensis) belongs to the family of Euphorbiaceae. It is commonly known as monkey face tree and found throughout tropical regions of India. For generations, it has been known as a medicinal tree in India. The dye comes from the seeds & fruit coat of the tree, which can grow up to 75 feet in height. Mature fruits have glandular hairs collected as reddish brown powder which is removed by shaking and rubbing the fruits by hand. The collected material is fine, granular powder, dull red, or madder red-colored and floats on water.
The different parts of the tree have a variety of medicinal uses. This plant is traditionally used for antifilarial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and immune-regulatory activity and also used as purgative, anthelmintic, vulnerary, detergent, maturant, carminative, alexiteric and is useful in treatment of bronchitis, abdominal diseases, spleen enlargement, antimicrobial, antiparasitic etc.
Kamala was formerly used in India for dyeing silk and wool to a bright orange colour and it is still used for this purpose to a limited extent and for colouring soaps, oils. ice-cream, and drinks.
The rottlerin and its pent potassium derivatives are employed for colouring foodstuffs, lemonades, lime juice and other beverages. It is also used as a sindhur or kumkum by woman in India. The fruits of the plant are used for making dyes and insect repellents, kernels effective as anthelmintic, & in treatment of rheumatism and snake bite. The red powder of fruits when mixed with some oil is a good remedy for ulcers.
We employ the kamala powder to produce beautiful light to dark yellow shades on cotton, wool, silk and all natural textile substrates through a standardised dyeing process using different combinations of natural mordants on fibers, fabric and garments with good fastness properties.