Scientific name: Indigofera tinctoria. Name in different languages:- English: True indigo, East Asian Indigo Plant, Indian indigo, Bengal Indigo, Ceylon Indigo, Chinese indigo, Black Henna, Wild indigo, Indigo Sauvage. Dutch: Indigogewassen, French: Indigo des teinturiers, Indigotier. Indigoboom. German: Indigo, Indigostrauch, Indigopflanze. Japanese: Taiwan komatsuna gi, Nanbanai. Italian: Anile. Malay: tarum. Portuguese: anileiro. Spanish: Añil. Sanskrit: Nilla, Nili, Nilika, Rangapatri. Hindi: Neeli, Neel, Niil. Bengali: Nil. Gujarati: Gari, Gali, Nil. Tamil: Neela amari, Neela avari, Nila amari, Avuri, Nili. Malayalam: Neelayamari, Amari, Neelichedi, Vellaamari, nilam.
True indigo is a shrub that grows up to one and half meter high. It is botanically known as Indigofera tinctoria and belongs to the family Fabaceae. Known as true indigo in English it is the original source of indigo dye. True indigo is included in the list of medicines used for hair growth and is an important ingredient in the ayurvedic hair oil Neelibrhingadi. Also it is a good medicine against diseases of the liver, rheumatism, whooping cough, diseases that affect the kidney and heart and also giddiness. True indigo is also used as a medicine against poison from bites of animals, in which the whole plant is ground to a paste and applied on the affected part and the juice of the leaves are consumed. The juice extracted from the roots is used for making hair oils. Also the stem and flowers also have medicinal value. It can be recognised from the light red colored stem, bluish tinted leaves and light red colored flowers. This plant contains the chemical indigotin.
True indigo grows well in hill sides and winter season is the ideal time for propagation. Seeds are used for propagation. The mature seeds are collected and covered in cloth and kept in sunlight for one week. Separate the seeds from the fruits and keep in shade for 2 to 3 days. The seeds are then germinated after either taking off the outer shell carefully or by soaking in water. Platforms are made 25 cm high from ground level and seeds are sown in these platforms. Seeds are mixed with sand since they are very small. Saplings are ready for planting after one month time and are planted within 35 cm from each other. Watering and de weeding should be done regularly. The flowers start to bloom in six months and at this period the plants are cut 30 cm from the ground and used for medicinal purposes. Water should be provided well at this time and the plants get ready for harvest again in 2 months.