Madder Dye Extract

SOURCE: Madder, or Rubia tinctorum (common madder), is an herbaceous perennial plant species belonging to the bedstraw and coffee family Rubiaceae. The plant is native to Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, but was early on introduced to the Central and Northwestern Europe where it became naturalized. 

Madder roots have been used as a dye for over 5,000 years. Archaeologists have found traces of madder in linen in Tutankhamen’s tomb (1350 BC), ancient Egyptian mummy cloths, and cloaks for Libyan women (5th century BC). 

Fun Facts: 

  • In Culpepers Complete Herbal, Madder root is recommended for sciatica, yellow jaundice, bruises, spleen obstruction, and failure to menstruate. 
  • Madder was used to dye the British Redcoats in the American Revolution. 
  • Madder was used by Egyptians to dye wool, teeth, and hooves on living animals, by feeding it to them.