mortality cartographer (beeooll) wrote,
mortality cartographer


The blue dyestuff is produced during fermentation of the leaves, commonly with caustic soda or sodium hydrosulfite. A paste that exudes from fermenting plant material is processed into cakes and finely ground. The blue color develops as the material is exposed to air (13.1-76). The indigo dye is a derivative of indican, a natural constituent of several of the Indigofera species (14.1-19). Indican is enzymatically converted to blue indigotin (14.1-35). The colorfast dye is mixed with different mordants and other plant materials to produce a wide range of colorants. The species name tinctoria refers to tinctorius, meaning "of dyes" or "belonging to dyes" (14.1-3). Today almost all indigo for dyeing cotton and wool is synthesized commercially.

As a medicinal plant, indigo has been used as an emetic. The Chinese use Indigofera tinctoria L. to clean the liver, detoxify the blood, reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and reduce fever (11.1-10). The powdered root of Indigofera cf. patens is used in South Africa to alleviate toothache (11.1-96). Indigofera spirata is known as a plant teratogen because of the presence of indospicine (11.1-96). Indigofera endecaphylla plant, creeping indigo, is poisonous and has been responsible for livestock death (11.1-96). Indigofera arrecta Hochst. ex A. Rich and Indigofera caroliniana Mill. are used as dye plants (9.1-5).

Source: Simon, J.E., A.F. Chadwick and L.E. Craker. 1984. Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography. 1971-1980. The Scientific Literature on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate Zone. Archon Books, 770 pp., Hamden, CT.
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