Use the gorgeous red hibiscus flowers by drying them in the shade. Then powder them to make a stunning red colour.
If you are planning to splatter holi colours on your friends and foes, maybe you might like to do it with marigold colour so they won’t get poisoned or gobbled up with harmful colours.
Black paste contains lead oxide, green has copper sulphate, red might have Mercury sulphite, gulal often has Silica while the white silver has a chemical which could cause cancer! Scary? Well there are many safer holi colours to make at home.
For a pretty green shade, use mehendi/henna powder mixed with equal quantity of gram flour or green gram flour. Buy only pure mehendi and avoid one mixed with amla which is meant for colouring hair. Dry mehendi will not leave harmful colour on your face and can be easily washed off, which is another advantage.
To make your wet colour: mix two teaspoons of mehendi in one litre of water. Stir nicely. You can also make a lovely green colour using spinach, coriander, palak, mint and tomato leaves etc. by dipping them in water and getting the glorious green they have.
Did you know that in Vrindavan holi is still played with real flower petals, scented and safe, such as the rose and marigolds?
For a sunny yellow colour you will need two teaspoons of turmeric to mix with double quantity of gram flour or besan which we use for making pakodas. You can also use atta, maida, rice flour or arrow root, groundnut powder,
The marigold, a gorgeous yellow, orange, ginger, red flower is another safe and cheap colour maker. Yellow chrysanthemums too are friendly flowers to use. Dry the petals of these flowers in shade to acquire a fine powder. Mix them with the besan etc. to make your colour.
You can also grind the dried up rind of the Bael fruit to make a shimmering yellow colour. For wet yellow colour, add one teaspoon of haldi to two litres of water and stir thoroughly. You can even boil it to strengthen the colour and then dilute it. Or you can soak marigold flowers in water or the Cassia fistula. Boil and leave overnight to get your colours.
For a red colour use red sandalwood powder which is also good for your skin. Use this safer holi paint than the red gulal.
Use the gorgeous red hibiscus flowers by drying them in the shade. Then powder them to make a stunning red colour. Add flour to make it thicker. Annato or Sinduria has a water chestnut shaped fruit which will give you seeds with a lovely post box red colour. You can make dry and wet colours with it.
Remember that the red hibiscus flowers soaked in water overnight will give you a red which also has medicinal value.
For wet colour put two teaspoons of red sandalwood powder in a litre of water and boil, dilute to use. Peels of red pomegranate boiled in water will also give you a red colour. If you want a orange and red shade, mix a pinch of chuna/lime powder (eaten with paan) with two spoons of haldi and a few drops of water. But dilute it with ten litres of water before using it. If you love blue, dry the jacaranda flowers in shade, and then grind them in the mixie to get a sweet blue powder.
In Kerala you can also find the blue hibiscus to make a different colour! For more information on safe holi colours read Heritage Amruth of March-April, 2009 (Liver Care), from where these facts were acquired. Phone: 28565873. email: firstname.lastname@example.org. website: www.frlht.org.