Botanical Name: Batschia canescens
- English: Alkanet
- Also, known as: Dyer's Bugloss, Spanish Bugloss, Anchusa, Orchanet, Ratanjot, Surulpattai, Ratthapaalai, Dineshavali, Vambalam Pattai
Origin: Central and southern Europe
Parts Used: Root
Alkanet is cultivated in Central and Southern Europe for its dye, which is readily extracted by oils and the spirit of wine. It is used in the pharmaceutical industry to give a red color to salves and in staining wood in imitation of rosewood, or mahogany. This is done by rubbing it with oil in which the Alkanet root has been soaked. The name Anchusa is derived from the Greek word anchousa meaning paint. The use of the root as a dye.
The species are hispid or pubescent herbs, with oblong, entire leaves, and bracketed racemes, rolled up before the flowers expand. The corolla is rather small, between funnel and salver-shaped; usually purplish-blue, but in some species yellow or whitish; the calyx enlarges in fruit. The root, which is often very large in proportion to the size of the plant, yields in many of the species a red dye from the rind.
Alkanet is a popular coloring agent for crafts, soaps, ointments, lip balms, and other personal beauty care recipes. The colorful root yields a vibrant ruby red-purple color.
Alkanet was and still is a natural beauty secret, used similarly to Henna. In fact, a classic beauty guide suggests an Alkanet preparation for naturally colored rosy-pink nails!
Not recommended for internal use.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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