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The leaflets and branches of the indigo plant yield an exquisite blue dye; people around the globe have used it to color textiles and clothing for centuries. Before the development of synthetic blue dyes, indigo was cultivated for this pigment rather than for medicinal use.
In the traditional medicine of India and China, indigo was used in the treatment of conditions we would now call epilepsy, bronchitis, liver disease, and psychiatric illness. 1 However, there is no real scientific evidence for any of these uses.
Warning: Several species of indigo are poisonous. See Safety Issues for more information.
No standard dosage of indigo has been established.
- Anand KK, Chand D, Ghatak BJR. Protective effect of alcoholic extract of Indigofera tinctoria Linn. in experimental liver injury. Indian J Exp Biol. 1979;17:685–687.