Tag Archives: Indigofera tinctoria

Indigo

Botanical Name : Indigofera tinctoria
Family: Fabaceae
Genus:     Indigofera
Species: tinctoria
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiosperms
Class:     Eudicots
Order:     Fabales

Synonyms: Pigmentum Indicum

Common name : Indigo or True indigo

Habitat:Native habitat of Indigofera tinctoria is unknown .But  it has been in cultivation worldwide for many centuries. Today most dye is synthetic, but natural dye from indigofera tinctoria is still available, marketed as natural coloring. The plant is also widely grown as a soil-improving groundcover.

Description:
Indigofera is a large genus of over 750 species of flowering plants belonging to the family Fabaceae.
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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.

A blue dyestuff 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. The precipitate from the fermented leaf solution is mixed with a strong base such as lye,

It does not exist ready formed, but is produced during fermentation from another agent existing in the plant. This is called Indocan, and is yellow, amorphous, of a nauseous bitter taste with an acid reaction; readily soluble in water, alcohol and ether.

Medicinal Uses:
-Indigo was at one time much used in medicine, but now is rarely employed.

Several species of this group are used to alleviate pain. The herbs are generally regarded as an analgesic with anti-inflammatory activity, rather than an anodyne. Indigofera articulata (Khedaish in Arabic) was used for toothache, and Indigofera oblongifolia (hasr in Arabic) was used as an anti-inflammatory for insect stings, snakebites, and swellings.

Indigofera suffruticosa and Indigofera aspalthoides have also been used as anti-inflammatories.[4] A patent was granted for use of Indigofera arrecta extract to relieve ulcer pain.

The Maasai people of Kenya use parts of Indigofera brevicalyx and I. swaziensis as toothbrushes

Main Uses:
Several species, especially Indigofera tinctoria and Indigofera suffruticosa, are used to produce the dye indigo. Colonial planters in the Caribbean grew indigo and transported its cultivation when they settled in the colony of South Carolina and North Carolina Where people of the Tuscarora confederacy adopted the dying process for head wraps and clothing. Exports of the crop did not expand until the mid-to late 18th century. When Eliza Lucas Pinckney and enslaved Africans successfully cultivated new strains near Charleston it became the second most important cash crop in the colony (after rice) before the American Revolution. It comprised more than one-third of all exports in value.

The chemical aniline, from which many important dyes are derived, was first synthesized from I. suffruticosa (syn. I. anil, whence the name aniline).

In Indonesia, the Sundanese use Indigofera tinctoria (known locally as tarum) as dye for batik.

It is a very well-known and highly important dye, millions of pounds being exported from India annually.

Known Hazards: It is said to produce nausea and vomiting.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/indigo05.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigofera_tinctoria
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigofera

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Chinese Woad (Isatis tinctoria or Isatis indigotica)

English: Isatis tinctoria, Brassicaceae, Woad,...

English: Isatis tinctoria, Brassicaceae, Woad, habitus Deutsch: Isatis tinctoria, Brassicaceae, Färberwaid, Deutscher Indigo, Habitus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Botanical Name : Isatis tinctoria /Isatis indigotica
Family: Brassicaceae/Cruciferae
Genus: Isatis
Species: I. tinctoria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Isatis indigotica – Fortune.

Common Name:  Chinese Woad
Other Common Names: Ban Lan Gen, Ch’Ing Tai, Dyer’s Woad, Dyer’s-woad, Tein-ching, Tien Hua, Wede, Woad

Habitat :Woad is native to the steppe and desert zones of the Caucasus, Central Asia to eastern Siberia and Western Asia (Hegi), but is now found in southeastern and some parts of Central Europe as well.Grows in  cliffs and cornfields, often on chalky soils.

Description:
Isatis indigotica is Biennial/Perennial growing to 1m by 0.45m.
It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

You may click to see the pictures

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position, though it succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers neutral to alkaline conditions. Plants deplete the soil of nutrients and cannot be grown successfully on the same site for more than two years. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. Woad is a biennial, or occasionally a short-lived perennial plant. It has a very long history as a dye plant, being used by the ancient Britons to give a blue colouring to the skin. At one time woad was widely cultivated for this blue dye obtained from its leaves but with the advent of chemical dyes it has fallen into virtual disuse. It is currently (1993) being grown commercially on a small scale in Germany as a wood preservative (An item on BBC’s Radio 4 Farming Programme). Plants self-sow freely when they are grown in a suitable position, though they tend not to thrive if grown in the same position for more than two years.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Fresh seed can also be sown in situ in late summer, it will take 20 months to flower but will produce more leaves

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – they require long soaking in order to remove a bitterness, and even then they are still bitter[177, 179]. There is no record of the seeds being edible, but they contain 12 – 34% protein and 12 – 38% fat on a zero moisture basis[218].

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Antiviral; Astringent; Cancer.

Isatis indigotica contains indican and isatin B, both of which can be converted to indigo. Considered antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Leaves and roots are effective against flu, encephalitis, measles, hepatitis, and mumps.

Woad has rather a mixed press for its medicinal virtues. One author says it is so astringent that it is not fit to be used internally – it is only used externally as a plaster applied to the region of the spleen and as an ointment for ulcers, inflammation and to staunch bleeding[4]. However, it is widely used internally in Chinese herbal medicine where high doses are often employed in order to maintain high levels of active ingredients. The leaves are antibacterial, anticancer, antiviral, astringent and febrifuge. It controls a wide range of pathogenic organisms, including viruses. It is used internally in the treatment of a wide range of disorders, including meningitis, encephalitis, mumps, influenza, erysipelas, heat rash etc. The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be used fresh or dried. They are also macerated and the blue pigment extracted. This is also used medicinally, particularly in the treatment of high fevers and convulsions in children, coughing of blood and as a detoxifier in infections such as mumps. The root is antibacterial and anticancer. It is used in the treatment of fevers, pyogenic inflammation in influenza and meningitis, macula in acute infectious diseases, erysipelas, mumps and epidemic parotitis. Its antibacterial action is effective against Bacillus subtilis, haemolytic streptococcus,, C. diphtheriae, E. coli, Bacillus typhi, B. paratyphi, Shigella dysenteriae, S. flexneri and Salmonella enteritidis. Both the leaves and the roots are used in the treatment of pneumonia. The root and the whole plant have anticancer properties whilst extracts of the plant have shown bactericidal properties.

Other Uses
Dye; Preservative.

Woad is historically famous as a dye plant, having been used as a body paint by the ancient Britons prior to the invasion of the Romans. A blue dye is obtained from the leaves by a complex process that involves fermenting the leaves and produces a foul stench. The dye is rarely used nowadays, having been replaced first by the tropical Indigofera tinctoria and more recently by synthetic substitutes. Nevertheless, it is a very good quality dye that still finds some use amongst artists etc who want to work with natural dyes. A very good quality green is obtained by mixing it with Dyer’s greenwood (Genista tinctoria). Woad is also used to improve the colour and quality of indigo, as well as to form a base for black dyes. The leaves are harvested when fully grown and 3 – 4 harvests can be made in total. Recent research in Germany has shown that (the dyestuff in?) this plant is a very good preservative for wood[Radio 4 Farming programme].

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Isatis+tinctoria
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isatis_tinctoria
http://www.sandmountainherbs.com/woad_chinese.html
http://www.uniprot.org/taxonomy/161756

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