Indigofera tinctoria Health effects and herbal facts

Known as
dye indigo Indian indigo indigo

Indigofera tinctoria bears the common name true indigo. The plant was one of the original sources of indigo dye. It has been naturalized to tropical and temperate Asia, as well as parts of Africa, but its native habitat is unknown since it has been in cultivation worldwide for many centuries. Today most dye is synthetic, but natural dye from I. tinctoria is still available, marketed as natural coloring. The plant is also widely grown as a soil-improving groundcover. True indigo is a shrub one to two meters high. It may be an annual, biennial, or perennial, depending on the climate in which it is grown. It has light green pinnate leaves and sheafs of pink or violet flowers. The plant is a legume, so it is rotated into fields to improve the soil in the same way that other legume crops such as alfalfa and beans are. Dye is obtained from the processing of the plant's leaves. They are soaked in water and fermented in order to convert the glycoside indican naturally present in the plant to the blue dye indigotin.

Indigofera tinctoria

Medical use

Economic importance of Indigofera tinctoria

Environmental soil improver
Materials tanin/dyestuf
Medicines folklore

Gallery

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Geografical distribution

  • AFRICA
    Native
    • Macaronesia: Cape Verde
    • Northeast Tropical Africa: Chad; Ethiopia; Somalia; Sudan; Yemen - Socotra
    • East Tropical Africa: Kenya; Tanzania; Uganda
    • West-Central Tropical Africa: Cameroon; Central African Republic; Gabon; Sao Tome and Principe
    • West Tropical Africa: Benin; Cote D'Ivoire; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Mali; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Togo
    • South Tropical Africa: Angola; Malawi; Mozambique; Zambia; Zimbabwe
    • Southern Africa: Botswana
    • Western Indian Ocean: Madagascar
  • ASIA-TEMPERATE
    Native
    • Arabian Peninsula: Yemen
    • China: China - Anhui, Hainan
    • Eastern Asia: Taiwan

Biological activities

Antiseptic
Indigotin found in Plant
Astringent
Indigotin found in Plant
Carcinogenic
Indican found in Plant
Pesticide
Indigotin found in Plant

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Chemicals detected

Chemical Plant part Low ppm High ppm
Ash Leaf 44,000
Cao53,500 Leaf
Indican Plant
Indigotin Plant
K2o Leaf 16,500
Nitrogen Leaf 51,100
P2o5 Leaf 7,800
Reference: Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. [Online Database]