Alternate Title

  • Baptisia australis

Related Terms

  • Baptisia australis, Baptisia tinctoria (L.) R. B., Baptisia tinctoria (L.) R. Br., Baptisiae tinctoriae radix, blue false indigo, blue wild indigo, Fabaceae (family), horse fly weed, indigo carmine, indigo weed, rattlebush, rattleweed, wild indigo root.

Background

  • Wild indigo (Baptisia australis) has deep blue to violet flowers, similar to sweet pea flowers. When the plant’s sap is exposed to air, it turns purple. Although this sap has been used for dying, it is not as colorfast as true indigo (Indigofera tinctoria). Some Native Americans tribes used a tea of blue indigo root as an emetic (induces vomit) and purgative.
  • Wild indigo is considered toxic and is on the U. S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) list of toxic plants. However, two studies in humans found no adverse effects when it was used in a combination of Baptisiae tinctoriae radix, Echinaceae pallidae/purpureae radix, and Thujae occidentalis herba. Currently, wild indigo seems most promising as an immunomodulator, as both laboratory studies and clinical studies using combination products have noted some benefit. However, more studies are needed using wild indigo as a monotherapy before its safety and efficacy can be determined.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

    R – R


    C – C

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

  • Adults (18 years and older):

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose for wild indigo in adults. Wild indigo is considered toxic and is on the U. S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) list of toxic plants.
  • Children (younger than 18 years):

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose for wild indigo in children. Wild indigo is considered toxic and is on the U. S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) list of toxic plants.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

  • Allergies

    • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to wild indigo (Baptisia australis) or its constituents.
  • Side Effects and Warnings

    • There is little information available on the adverse effects of wild indigo in the literature. However, when used in a combination of Baptisiae tinctoriae radix, Echinaceae pallidae/purpureae radix, and Thujae occidentalis herba, two studies in humans found no adverse effects. Wild indigo is considered toxic and is on the U. S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) list of toxic plants. Use cautiously in patients on immunosuppressive therapy as wild indigo may be an immunostimulator or immunomodulator.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    • Wild indigo is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

    Disclaimer

    Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Interactions with Drugs

    • The combination of an herbal preparation comprised of Echinacea, wild indigo and white cedar mat have antiviral characteristics. Caution is advised when taking wild indigo with other antiviral agents.
    • Preliminary evidence suggests that wild indigo may have immunostimulative or immunomodulating effects. Use cautiously with other immunosuppressive agents.
  • Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

    • The combination of an herbal preparation comprised of Echinacea, wild indigo and white cedar mat have antiviral characteristics. Caution is advised when taking wild indigo with other antiviral herbs or supplants.
    • Preliminary evidence suggests that wild indigo may have immunostimulative or immunomodulating effects. Use cautiously with other immunosuppressive herbs or supplements.

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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    View Abstract
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    View Abstract
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    View Abstract
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    View Abstract
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    View Abstract
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    View Abstract
  • Wagner H, Proksch A, Riess-Maurer I, et al. [Immunostimulating action of polysaccharides (heteroglycans) from higher plants]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1985;35(7):1069-1075.
    View Abstract
  • Wagner H, Proksch A, Riess-Maurer I, et al. [Immunostimulant action of polysaccharides (heteroglycans) from higher plants. Preliminary communication]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1984;34(6):659-661.
    View Abstract
  • Wustenberg P, Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, Kohler G, et al. Efficacy and mode of action of an immunomodulator herbal preparation containing Echinacea, wild indigo, and white cedar. Adv.Ther. 1999;16(1):51-70.
    View Abstract