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Wild indigo (Baptisia australis)

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Also listed as: Baptisia australis
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

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

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. GRADE *


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.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

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).

Dosing

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

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

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 (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Beuscher N, Kopanski L. [Stimulation of immunity by the contents of Baptisia tinctoria]. Planta Med 1985;(5):381-384.
  2. Beuscher N, Scheit KH, Bodinet C, et al. [Immunologically active glycoproteins of Baptisia tinctoria]. Planta Med 1989;55(4):358-363.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Wack M, Classen B, Blaschek W. An acidic arabinogalactan-protein from the roots of Baptisia tinctoria. Planta Med 2005;71(9):814-818.
  10. 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.
  11. Wagner H, Proksch A, Riess-Maurer I, et al. [Immunostimulating action of polysaccharides (heteroglycans) from higher plants]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1985;35(7):1069-1075.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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