Monday, May 2, 2011

Herb Of The Week II

(Sorry for not posting much, been busy with school!)

Baptisia Tinctoria (Wild Indigo)

Medicinal parts: The root of the plant.
Flower and Fruit: The flowers are terminal, and are on 7-10cm lightly flowered racemes. The corolla is yellow, the fruit is blue-black, and ovoid. The seeds are yellowish-brown, kidney-shaped, and 2mm long.
Leaves, Stem and Root: The plant has many branches up to a 1m shrub with a rootstock and knotty branches. The stem is 1-3mm thick, round and slightly grooved and glabrous. The leaves are brittle, and wedge shaped at the base. The roots vary in diameter from 0.2  to 1.5 cm.
Characteristics: The taste is bitter, acrid, and disagreeable; the odor is faint.
Habitat: Indigenous to southern Canada and the eastern and northeastern U.S.
Production: Wild indigo root is the subterranean part of Baptisia Tinctoria, which is dug up in autumn. The plant is produced from uncultivated areas.
Not to be confused with: Wild indigo can be confused or adulterated with the root of Baptisia australis (bluer/incorrect indigo)
Other names: Horse-fly Weed, Rattlebush
Actions and Pharmacology
Compounds: Water-soluble polysaccharide: in particular arabinogalactans, glycoproteins, quinolizidine alkaloids, and hydroxycumaris.
Effects: Stimulation of the immune system, ethanol extract has a positive effect on the human body. Found to raise leukocyte count and to improve the endogenous defense reaction. Has a mild estrogenic effect.
Indications and Usage
Wild indigo use is for septic and typhoid cases with prostration and fever, such as diphtheria, influenza, malaria, septic angina, and typhus. Also used for the common cold, ointment for painless ulcers.