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Natural colorant in HP series: Ratanjot

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Dawni

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While doing research I found some soap blogs that say Alkanet (the more popular of the two) and Ratanjot are the same thing. I've also found sites which state that they are two different plants, and so does Jo Haslauer in this article here. They do apparently give similar results so I guess that's why some interchange them.

I was very happy to have gotten both ratanjot roots and powder from a little shop in Karachi, Pakistan. They use this to sometimes color food there btw.

So in my quest to further expand my knowledge of natural colorants in HP, I decided to use them different ways. There isn't much written info on ratanjot even in CP, and there's even less for HP. I hope someone in the future finds this helpful.

I initially tried soaking some roots, which look n feel more like dried leaves than hard roots, in my lye water. I'll show you guys the results of that later.

Then I infused some roots in coconut oil, which here, remains liquid where my soapy stuff is, in the kitchen. After a couple of weeks it wasn't becoming as dark as I wanted so I threw in some powder.

Here's what it the oils look like before I added the lye.
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The infused coconut oil here is 18% of total oils. Maybe next time I'll infuse some rice bran instead, which I use more of in general, in any recipe. I planned on trying a lip balm with this ratanjot infusion, hence the usage of coconut oil.

Here's where the magic starts. As soon as I dumped in the lye, and started mixing with my spatula, my wine-like oils unfortunately did not turn into water lols but I did get a cool aurora borealis effect inside the pot. I doubt I'd get to see the real thing anytime soon, so I'm settling for this as the 5252nd best thing haha
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Incidentally, I got trace with just my spatula in about 6mins, so I had that time with my magic batter. Trace and midway into the cook looked the same. Instead of purplish though, a mix of grey, blue and green. Unfortunately, the pictures don't do the color justice at all. It was loads more vibrant in the pot.
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I was loving it. Then I panicked and wasn't able to take pics lol

I almost always add my coconut milk (reconstituted in part of the water required) at the end of my cook, and when I did my beautiful, magical batter turned into neon-ish green of all things, then into a really bleh brown, similar to instant coffee with milk lol

I realize it was the sugars in the milk but in previous soaps it only made the batter darker in shade, not change colors completely, so this came as a shock. Good thing when I unmolded I saw it again magically turned into something that veeeeeery slightly resembles purple, albeit a more grey one.
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And here's a side by side shot with the soap that had the ratanjot mixed in the lye water.
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This soap is about two months old though, so it's lighter than it initially was but not by much, and the color has stayed the same. In reality, which my camera doesn't capture, these two batches look very different.

I imagine alkanet will behave similarly but I haven't tried as I've not found out where I can get some. On another note, I've tried this infused oil thrice now, as a colorant in CP for swirls and all times it turned blue, the color I imagine indigo should be (but isn't in my case lol, but that's for another post).

Thanks for reading! :)
 
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Marilyn Norgart

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i really like your swirling good job!!!! natural colorants don't sound like much fun to work with to me :(
 

earlene

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Thank you, Dawni! What a fabulous experience, getting a magical color show in your soaping pot. I want to have that happen! I decided to search out some Ratanjot (Onosma Echioides), but so far all I am finding are listings that call it by both Ratanjot and Alkanet, so I doubt they are authentic. I suppose that's why some of the other soapers say they are the same thing; they never had the color show you had, so they must have had an adulterated product. What a shame. I may never find it here.

But I love that you had this experience and shared it with us.
 

dibbles

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Dawni I love your experiments. Thanks for sharing. The soaps are so pretty and what a treat you had with the color changes.
 

atiz

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These look great.
The same thing happened to me with alkanet root in CP, infused in olive oil. The oils were beautiful burgundy before the lye water was added, then it turned into greenish gray. I was pretty disappointed :)
But yours look really lovely with the swirls, and I like the color a lot.
 

Dawni

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Thank you @KiwiMoose, and you're welcome @dibbles :)
i really like your swirling good job!!!! natural colorants don't sound like much fun to work with to me :(
Thank you! I'm having a lot of fun with them actually lol I take what I can get hehehe
Thank you, Dawni! What a fabulous experience, getting a magical color show in your soaping pot. I want to have that happen! I decided to search out some Ratanjot (Onosma Echioides), but so far all I am finding are listings that call it by both Ratanjot and Alkanet, so I doubt they are authentic. I suppose that's why some of the other soapers say they are the same thing; they never had the color show you had, so they must have had an adulterated product. What a shame. I may never find it here.

But I love that you had this experience and shared it with us.
You're welcome hehe.. I have a feeling it might be the same for many natural colorants that are for sale.. I've gotten very different results with this ratanjot, indigo, red sandalwood and even just turmeric. I have madder root waiting to be tested also. Or it could be mine, being in the raw forms, are bound to be different? I don't know...

If you come across and Indian or Pakistani shop maybe you could ask them, as they use ratanjot to color food sometimes.
These look great.
The same thing happened to me with alkanet root in CP, infused in olive oil. The oils were beautiful burgundy before the lye water was added, then it turned into greenish gray. I was pretty disappointed :)
But yours look really lovely with the swirls, and I like the color a lot.
Thank you! So it stayed greenish gray until cured? Mine went through drastic changes and I'm sure as it cures the color I have now will also fade..
 

atiz

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Thank you @KiwiMoose, and you're welcome @dibbles :)

Thank you! So it stayed greenish gray until cured? Mine went through drastic changes and I'm sure as it cures the color I have now will also fade..
Yeah, mine is still grayish-green... mostly gray at this point I think. I call it my cameo soap :) It is a castile though, so still curing, but doubt it will revert back to purple :(
I had better luck with madder root, that one also changed colors a bit, but the final result was mostly the expected (it started out blue and then reverted back to pink-ish).
Natural colorants are the only ones I use but they're still mostly magic to me... I think the only consistent result I had was with annatto seed. But they are really fun, as your experiments show!
 

szaza

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Wow those are some amazing color changes! If only we could choose which color comes out after cure.. I haven't had the pleasure of trying out ratanjot, but alkanet was a tricksy little plant as well! I tried an infusion with a milk soap in hp and also got grey.. then I tried adding it to trace in CP and got brown. Only one that gave me a shade of purple was the zany's no slime Castile recipe I made in January. It started out grey, but turned purple after about a week. From my notes I think the most important things to take care of when working with alkanet (which might be the same for ratanjot) is using a very white base recipe, using enough oil infusion and making sure the soap gels. I'm very curious about your future adventures @Dawni!!
 
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These look great.
The same thing happened to me with alkanet root in CP, infused in olive oil. The oils were beautiful burgundy before the lye water was added, then it turned into greenish gray. I was pretty disappointed :)
But yours look really lovely with the swirls, and I like the color a lot.
 
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