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Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria) is a member of the pea family native to the eastern United States, where it grows in dry meadows and open woodland environments. It was used by Native Americans and early settlers as a dye, and the root was used to clean wounds.* A tea made from the root was used as internally during fevers and acute immune challenges, and externally as a poultice for toothaches and wounds.* Later, the Eclectic physicians of the 1800s used this herb for typhoid fever and diarrhea, ulcers, sepsis and sore throat.*


Indigo has been shown to support healthy bile production, as well as capillary and respiratory health.*

Uses of Indigo


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

alkaloids, resins, glycoproteins, polysaccharides, isoflavones

Parts Used

  • root

Important precautions

Additional Resources

Felter & Lloyd. (1898). King’s American Dispensatory, 18th edition, 3rd revision, vol I. Portland, Oregon: Eclectic Medical Publications. 
Hoffman, David. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Classen B, Thude S, Blaschek W, Wack M, Bodinet C. (2006). Immunomodulatory effects of arabinogalactan-proteins from Baptisia and Echinacea. Phytomedicine. 2006 Nov;13(9-10):688-94. Epub 2005 Nov 14.
Tilgner, Sharol (1999). Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth. Pleasant Hill, Oregon: Wise Acres Publishing.

Ecologically Harvested is a term that describes all herbs sold by Gaia Herbs that are not Certified Organic. Ecologically Harvested herbs include herbs that are harvested in their natural habitat, (i.e., wild harvested) according to specific guidelines for harvesting these herbs (i.e., away from roads and industry, as well as guidelines to avoid overharvesting). Our term, Ecologically Harvested, also includes herbs that are grown in managed woodland areas, fields designated for specific herbs, and herbs that are grown by indigenous growers, such as Kava Kava. All Ecologically Harvested herbs pass pesticide and heavy metal testing as well as microbial testing, prior to release.