Indigo Root tea has been known since the time of the early Americans as being valuable for its antiseptic, astringent, antibiotic, antibacterial, purgative, and emetic properties.
Wild indigo is a herbaceous annual plant that usually grows up to a height of three feet. It possesses branching stems and bluish green leaves. The leaves of the wild indigo plant have separating spaces and are usually ¾ inch long. The wild indigo bears bright yellow flowers during the months of May to September. The seed produced by the flowers are oblong-shaped.
Also known by its scientific name of baptisia tinctoria, wild indigo can be typically found in the eastern areas of the United States. It usually grows in open wooded areas and in meadows.
The indigo root has a history of medicinal use in what is now the United States. The early Indian tribes in the southern New England area used indigo root tea as a disinfecting wash for deep cuts and wounds. From 1916 to 1936, the wild indigo plant was accorded official status as an emetic, stimulant, antiseptic and astringent by the US Pharmacopoeia and the National Formulary. Furthermore, it was recommended as treatment for diphtheria, typhoid fever, scarlet fever and dysentery.
The active constituents of indigo root are isoflavones, flavonoids, alkaloids, coumarins, and polysaccharides. The health benefits of indigo root are usually derived through a decoction of indigo root tea, or as a tincture. To make indigo root tea, simply place a handful of indigo root in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Take it out of the heat and let it stand for a further 3 minutes before drinking.
Taking indigo root tea in large doses may be toxic and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, asphyxiation, and even death. It should likewise be avoided by pregnant and nursing women as well as people with auto-immune disorders. Consultation with a physician is recommended before using indigo root tea.
The following are some health benefits attributed to this tea:
- When applied topically to an affected area this tea may help in the treatment of wounds and cuts.
- May help strengthen the immune system.
- Thought to help in the speedy recovery from the common cold.
- May help in the treatment of upper respiratory infections like pharyngitis and tonsillitis.
- The tea when combined with echinacea is said to help in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome.
- When gargled this tea may help in the healing of sore throat, canker sores and gum ailments.
- When applied topically this tea may help in the treatment of sore or infected nipples.
- May help reduce fever.