By Rahul Vaishnavi *
Getting drenched in a rainbow of colours is the essence of Holi though skin allergies and rashes caused by synthetic and chemical colours puts the health of your loved ones, especially children, at risk.
According to doctors, chemical colours have solvents such as tetrathyline, lead, benzene and aromatic compounds that can lead to dry skin while dark colours like red, black and green have a high content of mercury sulphite, lead oxide and copper sulphate, which could even cause skin cancer.
And while organic colours are a safe option, their high prices certainly burn a hole in the pocket.
Therefore, making your own natural colours at home using flowers, fruits and vegetables is not only the best option towards ensuring a safe Holi but also to
conserve the environment.
Here are some easy tips to make organic colours at home:
* Red: Boil peels of pomegranate fruit in water till it turns red. For red coloured gulal, the dried peel of pomegranate can be crushed and mixed with flour or red
sandalwood powder can be mixed with crushed hibiscus or rose flowers.
* Green: Mix mehendi (henna) with some amount of flour to make gulal while mint, spinach and other green leaves can be crushed and mixed with water or oil to make a paste.
* Yellow: Mix two teaspoons of turmeric powder with double the quantity of besan (gram flour) to make gulal while flowers like marigold, amaltas and black babul can be crushed and mixed with water for a yellow-coloured paste.
* Blue: Dried jacaranda flowers can be crushed and mixed with water or flour.
* Magenta: Slice or grate one beetroot and soak in a liter of water. Boil or leave overnight for a deeper shade. Boil the peels of pink onions in half a liter of water for an orange-pink shade.
* Saffron: Soak the palash flower in water overnight. For better results, the flowers can be boiled in water to get a yellowish-orange colour.
* Black: Boil dried fruits of amla (gooseberry) in an iron vessel and leave overnight. Dilute with water and use.
*Kasturi:(musk can add fragrance and enhanced therapeutic effects to the colours).
* Brown: Katha (Acacia catechu) of the pan, when mixed with water will give a brownish colour. Another option is to boil tea or coffee leaves in water.