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Indigo Plant as Medicine

The Indigo Naturalis plant, an herb, has been used as a natural dye, famously by the Maya and as a medicine for centuries. The Indigo plant is native to Guatemala, where is it known as the King of Dyes and the Dye of Kings and it is here where the Maya first created the pigment Maya Blue in the late pre-classic periods, 1900 BC to 200 AD.

It also finds some use in domestic medicine in Guatemala where it is often applied to the stings of bees and other insects to reduce pain and inflammation.

In China, the practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), have used indigo to purify the liver, reduce inflammation and fever and to alleviate pain. It is an

anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial and therefore, considered an important drug in Chinese Medicine.

In fact, since the Tang Dynasty, Indigo Naturalis has been used as a drug with remarkable therapeutic effects on fever, hemoptysis, convulsions in children, oral ulcers and sore throat.

As Indigo has antibacterial properties, ancient Japanese samurai warriors are said to have worn indigo clothing under their armor to help heal wounds. The Japanese firefighters of Edo (Tokyo) later wore Indigo clothing to protect themselves due to its flame retardant abilities (up to 1500F!).


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