Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria)
Wild indigo is native to the United States and Canada. An annual plant, it reaches a height of three feet. The leaves are a blue-green color and the flowers are bright yellow. This member of the legume family likes full sun and sandy soil. In Chinese medicine, indigo is called da qing ye.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Wild indigo is used to treat focused infections like tonsillitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis and infections of the sinus and nose. It can help with inflammation of the lymph glands and with fevers. Indigo has been used to treat scarlet fever. This herb has been recommended for all diseases affecting the glands and in liver disorders. Stomatitis, sore throat and inflammation of the bowels can be treated with indigo. It can also be used to induce vomiting. In Chinese medicine, indigo has been used to treat Crohn's disease, malaria and diphtheria as well.
Externally Wild indigo can be used internally and externally to heal gingivitis and mouth ulcers as well as pyorrhea. It is also a good remedy for canker sores, gum disease and sore throat. An ointment can be applied to infected ulcers and to ease sore nipples during breastfeeding. Leucorrhea can be treated by using an indigo decoction as a douche. The herb can also be used for ulcerated nipples and mammary glands as well as problems with the cervix. Native Americans have long used indigo as an antiseptic for wounds.
Other Uses Wild indigo contains the same blue pigment as the indigo plant used for commercial dyeing, just in lesser quantities. It is also used in homeopathy.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
To make a mixture to boost the immune system, add to Echinacea and white cedar.
Combined with burdock, indigo can help heal lymph swelling.
Roots The root of indigo is collected in the fall after the plant has finished flowering.
Large doses may cause nausea and vomiting. Using the herb for more than two to three weeks in a row is not recommended.
Preparation and Dosage
Wild indigo is usually combined with other herbs. A tincture may be taken three times per day in 1 to 2 ml doses. If taking the whole herb as an herbal tea, the dose is 1 teaspoon put in 1 cup of boiling water up to three times per day.