Mountain Rose Herbs

Wild Indigo Root

Also known as

Baptisia tinctonia, horsefly weed, indigo weed, rattle bush, yellow broom, clover broom


A perennial member of the pea (Fabaceae) family, wild indigo favors dry, poor soil in open areas, and is common throughout the northeastern United States as far south as Florida and west as Minnesota. A North American native, both its common name and its botanical name (which combines the Latin and Greek words for “dye”) indicate that it should be a rich source of dark blue pigment, but unfortunately the dye it yields (which is contained in the cream-colored to bright yellow flowers and seed pods, and is difficult to extract) is considered inferior to that of the true indigo plant (genus Indigofera). Instead, wild indigo root has a long history of medicinal use, dating back to the Mohegans of southern New England.


Isoflavones (which are estrogenic), flavonoids, alkaloids, coumarins, and polysaccharides.

Parts Used

The roots, medicinally. An inferior blue dye can be extracted from the flowers and seed pods through a complicated process involving chemicals and fermentation.

Typical Preparations

Most often used as a decoction (a half teaspoon in a cup of water up to three times daily), or a tincture (1-2 ml three times daily).


Large doses of wild indigo root can be toxic, causing vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, asphyxiation, and death. Wild indigo root should be avoided by pregnant women and people with autoimmune disorders, and should be used only under the guidance of a qualified health care practitioner.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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