Herb: Wild Indigo

Latin name: Baptisia australis

Synonyms: Baptisia exaltata

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Wild Indigo:

Appetizer, digestive. The root is antiemetic, emetic and purgative. There are confusing reports from two sources that the plant is used as an emetic and also that a cold tea is given to stop vomiting. A poultice of the root is anti-inflammatory and is held in the mouth to treat toothaches. The plant is under investigation as a potential stimulant of the immune system.

Description of the plant:


150 cm
(5 feet)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Rich woods and alluvial thickets, often on river banks.

Other uses of Wild Indigo:

A blue dye is obtained from the plant. No more information is given, but it is likely to be the leaves that are used.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water and then sown in a cold frame in late winter or early spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer or following spring. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.

Cultivation of Wild Indigo:

Rich woods and alluvial thickets, often on river banks.

Known hazards of Baptisia australis:

A report says that the plant is potentially toxic.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.