Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) Overview

Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) image

Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) other names: American Indigo, AƱil Silvestre, Baptisia Root, Baptisia tinctoria, Baptista, False Indigo, Faux Indigo, Horsefly Weed, Indigo Broom, Indigo Sauvage, Indigo Silvestre, Rattlebush, Yellow Broom, Yellow Indigo.

Wild indigo is an herb. The root is used to make medicine.

The very term ‘indigo' associated with a plant's name brings to the mind that it must be yielding a rich blue pigment. But, unfortunately, wild indigo is a plant that is an inferior alternative to the original indigo dye that has provided people across the globe with a deep blue color for over 4000 years now. Indigenous to North America, the wild indigo is a shaggy plant that has bluish green leaves and yellow colored flowers that are akin to the ones found on the pea plant. According to history, the Mohegans of south New England precipitated the root of wild indigo to acquire a medicine with which they washed cuts and gaping wounds and this practice is followed even now. In fact, wild indigo has antiseptic properties and is immensely beneficial in treating fevers when they are accompanied with injuries.

Wild indigo grows annually. Wild indigo is a straight plant that grows up to three feet tall with even, rotund branching stems and has bluish green leaves. The leaves of the plant are separated like in clovers and are three fourth of an inch in length. When they are dehydrated, the leaves transform into a bluish black hue. Wild indigo bears canary-yellow flowers between May and September on the topmost branches and they are half an inch long. The seed produced by the wild indigo flowers are pods that resemble oblong-shaped capsules.

Any soil that combines all three of these types of particles in relatively equal amounts is ideal for the growth of wild indigo. The herb has a preference for deep, nutritious and well-drained indefinite to mildly tart soil in complete sunlight. Once the wild indigo is planted it is important that they are left undisturbed as the herb has a deep root system and has an aversion to root disturbance. The herb has a two-way relation with specific bacteria in the soil and these bacteria helps to form lumps of the wild indigo by affixing nitrogen from the atmosphere. While an amount of this accumulated nitrogen is utilized by the growing wild indigo, some of it is also used by plants in growing in its neighborhood.

Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) Health Benefits

Wild indigo is used for infections such as diphtheria, influenza (flu), swine flu, the common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections, lymph node infections, scarlet fever, malaria, and typhoid. Wild indigo is also used for sore tonsils (tonsillitis), sore throat, swelling of the mouth and throat, fever, boils, and Crohn's disease.

As an herbal remedy, wild indigo, considered to motivate the immune system in the body, has multiple uses. While wild indigo is especially beneficial in curing upper respiratory infections like tonsillitis and pharyngitis, the herb is also very useful in healing contagions of the chest, gastrointestinal tract and even the skin. The anti-microbial and immuno-stimulant features of wild indigo help to fight against lymphatic disorders. Wild indigo is very useful in diminishing lymph swellings when wild indigo is used along with detoxifying herbs like burdock. While the extract from the wild indigo roots are widely used as gargle or mouthwash, the decoction heals canker sores, gum diseases, and even sore throats.

Some people apply wild indigo directly to the skin for ulcers, sore and painful nipples, as a douche for vaginal discharge, and for cleaning open and swollen wounds.

Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) picture

Since the days of the Indians in the US, wild indigo has been used as an antiseptic to heal cuts and wounds. Till date herbal practitioners prescribe the use of wild indigo as a gargle or for application as an external antiseptic. Although these are proven, there is no scientific research to support the efficiency of the herb in healing these ailments.

The North Indians in America expensively used the wild indigo to heal various disorders. In fact, a medication prepared from boiling the roots of the herb in boiling water was a favorite among the American Indians as an antiseptic. They used the decoction to wash wounds and even skin disorders. Recent researches have proved that this pungent and sour herb kindles the immune system and is especially effectual against all types of infections caused by bacteria. However, here is a word of caution for those applying the plant extracts internally. It needs to be emphasized that vast as well as recurrent use of the herb may be injurious to health. 

A tea prepared from the wild indigo root extract increases the flow of bile, induces nausea and vomiting, at the same time reduces fever and stimulates evacuation of the bowels. When wild indigo roots and barks are boiled in water and the medication is used to rinse the throat or used as a mouthwash, it helps in healing mouth sores. Additionally, fresh roots and barks of wild indigo are widely used as homeopathic remedies. Although wild indigo has inadequate results in controlling flu, but is still used extensively to heal particular types of the disorder.

Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) Side effects

Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) flower

Scientists have done enough research with wild indigo and even undertaken wide-ranging tests regarding the safety of using the herb. Medical examination of harmonized use of wild indigo as a remedy used with other herbs has proved that wild indigo is not harmful. However, the researchers involving the safety of the use of wild indigo among young children, pregnant or nursing women or people with acute liver or kidney disease is yet to be established.

Wild indigo is unsafe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin, long-term or in large doses. Large doses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, other intestinal problems, and spasms.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Wild indigo is unsafe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. Avoid use.

Stomach or intestinal problems: Wild indigo can be especially harmful to people with stomach or intestinal problems. Avoid use.