Drugs A - Z
Wild indigo (Baptisia australis)
Generic Name: Baptisia tinctoria
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
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.
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.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: 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.
Respiratory tract infections:
Preliminary evidence has shown immunostimulative properties in wild indigo extracts. However, the available clinical studies have been conducted using the combination called Esberitox N (Echinaceae (purpureae et pallidae) radix, Baptisiae tinctoriae radix and Thujae occidentalis herba). Additional study is needed using wild indigo alone to determine effectiveness for respiratory tract infections.
TraditionWARNING: 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.
Antiviral, emetic (induces vomiting), immunomodulation, laxative (purgative).
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.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
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
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.
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.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Emily Kyomitmaitee, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: 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 www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Beuscher N, Kopanski L. [Stimulation of immunity by the contents of Baptisia tinctoria]. Planta Med 1985;(5):381-384.
Beuscher N, Scheit KH, Bodinet C, et al. [Immunologically active glycoproteins of Baptisia tinctoria]. Planta Med 1989;55(4):358-363.
Dowlatshahi K, Jokich PM, Schmidt R, et al. Cytologic diagnosis of occult breast lesions using stereotaxic needle aspiration. A preliminary report. Arch Surg 1987;122(11):1343-1346.
Ikeda T, Jinno H, Fujii H, et al. Recent development of sentinel lymph node biopsy for breast cancer in Japan. Asian J Surg 2004;27(4):275-278.
Imoto S, Fukukita H, Murakami K, et al. Pilot study on sentinel node biopsy in breast cancer. J Surg Oncol 2000;73(3):130-133.
Kohler G, Bodinet C, Freudenstein J. [Pharmacodynamic effects and clinical effectiveness of a combination of herbal substances comprised of Cone Flower, Wild Indigo and White Cedar]. Wien.Med Wochenschr. 2002;152(15-16):393-397.
Naser B, Lund B, Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical dose-response trial of an extract of Baptisia, Echinacea and Thuja for the treatment of patients with common cold. Phytomedicine 2005;12(10):715-722.
Ragosch V, Hundertmark S, Hopp H, et al. [Insulin-like-growth-factor-binding-protein 1 (IGFBP-1) and fetal fibronectin in diagnosis of premature rupture of fetal membranes]. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1996;56(6):291-296.
Wack M, Classen B, Blaschek W. An acidic arabinogalactan-protein from the roots of Baptisia tinctoria. Planta Med 2005;71(9):814-818.
Wagner H, Jurcic K. [Immunologic studies of plant combination preparations. In-vitro and in-vivo studies on the stimulation of phagocytosis]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1991;41(10):1072-1076.
Wagner H, Proksch A, Riess-Maurer I, et al. [Immunostimulating action of polysaccharides (heteroglycans) from higher plants]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1985;35(7):1069-1075.
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.
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.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.