New Madder Root Powder

We are pleased to announce our new Madder Root Powder is in stock!

Our new Madder Root Powder is Rubia Cordifolia, often used in Chinese and Indian Herbal Medicine.

Madder Root, Powder
Madder Root, Powder


Rubia cordifolia is also known as Indian madder or manjit (majith, manjistha etc.) and produces a coral-terracotta-pink botanical dye for use in soap and fabrics. The strength of colour can vary from palest peach to a rosy pink to a deep earthy terracotta brown, depending on the amount used and method. The powdered root is the easiest to use in soap as it gives you consistent results.

We have trialed our Cordifolia stock to find the easiest way to use it in soap. Used directly into the traced soap only produced a fairly light terracotta coloured bar, or a very strong robust terracotta colour. It gives a slightly different result than our previous Tinctoria stock. We infused the powder in the olive oil portion of our soap batch. As the the entire powder infusion was added to the soap, it did slightly thicken trace.

Image Credit: Kew

Colour Variations

To obtain the darkest colour, you will need to force a nice hot gel. Use lots of insulation and you may consider using a heat mat or a hot gelling fragrance oil to get the temperature up. We used a hot oil infusion of madder root powder in the olive oil portion of the recipe for this soap.

Other Methods Of Infusion To Try:
Hot Water Infusion – Like making a herbal tea – in part of the lye water allocation
Add powdered madder root straight into lightly traced soap – this will create a more speckled effect than the oil infusion
Cold Infusion In Oil Over 6 Weeks – You can double or triple infuse the botanical material if desired to deepen the colour.

Madder Root Cold Process Soap Recipe

Madder Root Cold Process Soap Recipe

In the following recipe, and to show it at its lowest strength, we did not force gel or insulate the mould at all. We soaped it in early summer, so about 22°C ambient room temperature, and approximately the same soap batter temperature. We discounted the water a tad and some thickening was noted.

Note: If you would like a textured top, you need to balance the thickness of trace with its ability to sit nicely on top in that textured look.



For how to make soap from scratch, please see our Cold Process Soapmaking Instructions Page

If you are a beginner, we recommend you make a few batches before attempting this soap as it can be a little overwhelming trying so many new things when just starting out. If you are more experienced, you can follow the instructions below. Follow all the usual safety procedures. If you are not familiar with these, please begin with the basic tutorial on the link above.

Prep: The madder root powder is best infused a day or two ahead of making the soap.You can even make up a big batch with nice fresh olive oil, and just pour off what is required for each batch. For this project we used 100g of powder in 450g Olive Oil using the direct heat method. I used the cooktop for this batch, but you can also use a small crock pot.

  • Weigh 450g Olive Oil into the saucepan.
  • Heat on low until the oil has warmed sufficiently (approximately 40 – 50°C).
  • Add the madder root powder and stir to combine
  • Turn down the heat and regulate it to keep it at this temperature – do not allow to simmer or boil.
  • I like to do this for a couple of hours – keeping a good eye on it.
  • Allow to cool

Oils, madder infusion and lye water ready to go

Making The Batch:

  • Now, it’s very straightforward!
  • Prepare the lye as usual and set aside to cool.
  • Combine and heat the oils as usual, including all of the madder root oil infusion.
  • Pour the lye water into the oils and mix to light trace, then add Bergamot Black Tea Fragrance Oil (or your preferred Essential or Fragrance Oil).

  • We experienced some thickening of the soap batter (we discounted the water and included all the powder in the infusion), so poured straight into the mould. If you want a textured top, use the spatula (as pictured) and insulate to gel to get the darkest colour. If you prefer the colour of our soap, this was not insulated.

  • Cut and cure as usual.

Madder Root Cold Process Soap Recipe

Madder Root Cold Process Soap Recipe

Happy Soaping!

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