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Baptisia tinctoria - (L.)Vent.                
                 
Common Name Wild Indigo
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
Synonyms Baptisia gibbesii. Podalyria tinctoria. Sophora tinctoria.
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous in large quantities[21, 46]. Irritation of the eyes. May cause dermatitis. Avoid with inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases [301].
Habitats Dry soils in open woods and clearings[21, 43].
Range Eastern N. America - Virginia to Florida.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Baptisia tinctoria is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone 5. It is in leaf 10-Apr It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Baptisia tinctoria Wild Indigo


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Baptisia-tinctoria-Conrad-Loddiges-1822_clean.jpg
Baptisia tinctoria Wild Indigo
http://flickr.com/photos/61897811@N00
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Young shoots - cooked. An asparagus substitute[2, 105, 161, 177]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Adaptogen;  Alterative;  Antibacterial;  Antiseptic;  Astringent;  Cholagogue;  Emetic;  Febrifuge;  Homeopathy;  Purgative;  Stimulant.


Wild indigo was a favourite medicine of the N. American Indians, a decoction of the roots being used as an antiseptic wash for wounds and skin complaints[213, 238]. Modern research has shown that this acrid bitter herb stimulates the immune system[222, 238] and is particularly effective against bacterial infections[238]. Caution is advised in the internal use of this plant, large or frequent doses are potentially harmful[222]. A tea made from the roots is cholagogue, emetic, febrifuge and purgative[4, 21, 46, 165, 222]. The fresh root is also considered to be antiseptic, astringent and laxative[4, 21, 46, 165, 222]. The infusion is used in the treatment of upper respiratory infections such as tonsillitis and pharyngitis, and is also valuable in treating infections of the chest, gastro-intestinal tract and skin[254].The plants antimicrobial and immune-stimulant properties combat lymphatic problems, when used with detoxifying herbs such as Arctium lappa it helps to reduce enlarged lymph nodes[254]. Wild indigo is frequently prescribed, along with Echinacea, in the treatment of chronic viral infections or chronic fatigue syndrome[254]. A decoction of the root soothes sore or infected nipples and infected skin conditions[254]. When used as a mouth wash or gargle the decoction treats mouth ulcers, gum infections and sore throats[254]. The fresh root, including the bark, is used to make a homeopathic medicine[232]. This has a limited range of action, but is used especially in the treatment of certain types of flu[232].
Other Uses
Dye;  Repellent.

This species is related to the tropical plant Indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) and, like that species, contains a blue dyestuff in the leaves[1]. The dyestuff is only contained in very low concentrations, however, and a very large quantity of leaves would be required to obtain reasonable quantities of indigo[169]. A yellow dye can also be obtained from the plant[61]. If the growing plant is harvested and hung up, it is said to repel flies[213].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a deep, rich, well-drained neutral to slightly acid soil in full sun[200, 233]. Grows freely in a loamy soil. Plants are shy flowering in British gardens[200, 233]. Plants have a very deep root system and dislike root disturbance, they should be left alone once they are established[188, 233]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[200]. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water and then sown in a cold frame in late winter or early spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer or following spring. Division in spring[188]. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(L.)Vent.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
43200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[43]Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany.
A bit dated but good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[165]Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
An excellent small herbal.
[169]Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden.
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[188]Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[213]Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[232]Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook.
A concise beginner's guide to the subject. Very readable.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[301]Karalliedde. L. and Gawarammana. I. Traditional Herbal Medicines
A guide to the safer use of herbal medicines.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Gopal Pandey Thu Apr 13 2006
We have found this remedy very effective in a severe case of the influenza. Couple of doses of 200 c potency cured the patient. Gopal Pandey
Elizabeth H.
MRS R Jones Fri Jun 13 2008
do you know of any where i can purchase Wild Indigo? Metabolic sell it but i cannot find their number Thank you R F Jones
Elizabeth H.
dr, mrinmoy sasmal Tue Nov 17 2009
it is agood medicine in treating typhoid
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