Category – Other Dyes
It is believed that Lac originated from the Sanskrit word Laksha which refers to a deep red dye of uncertain origin.
Today, Lac is commonly understood as the scarlet resinous secretion of a number of species of lac insects, of which the most commonly cultivated species is Kerria lacca.
Cultivation begins when a farmer gets a stick (broodlac) that contains eggs ready to hatch and ties it to the tree to be infested.
Thousands of lac insects colonize the branches of the host trees and secrete the resinous pigment. The coated branches of the host trees are cut and harvested as sticklac. This is further processed into pigments are used in dyeing.
Lac production is native to the Indian subcontinent as well as parts of south-east Asia such as Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
Lac yields hues ranging from soft pink to deep purple when dyed with different mordants. It also yields a deep red when mixed with madder.
Why its good for you: The use of lac dye goes back to ancient times. It has been used in India as a skin cosmetic and dye for wool and silk.
It is non-toxic in nature and remains in use for enhancing colour of some juices, carbonated drinks, wine, jam, sauce, and candy. Lac is used in folk medicine as a hepatoprotective (liver protection) and anti-obesity drug