Neelamari or the Indian Indigo is more than just a plant that yields blue dye and found a place in the history of India’s struggle for independence. This is one of Nature’s most potent antitoxins, which makes it one of the must grows in every Ayurvedic herbs garden.
Neelamari (Indigofera tinctoria) is native to South and SouthEast asia and can be found growing copiously all over India, both in the wild and in cultivations. Neelamari is a climber with purplish blue flowers and shiny yellowish red seeds in pods. The leaves contain a chemical named indican that produces the famed blue dye. The leaves are boiled and fermented for the production of the dye. Neelamari has been used by practitioners of Ayurveda as an effective medicine against several diseases, but the chief use has been as an antidote for poisons.
Medicinal Uses of Neelamari
Neelamari as an Antidote:
The antitoxic Neelamari is a potent antidote to several types of toxicity including those caused by plant life, metals or animals. Neelamari’s Samoolam or the whole plant is ground into a paste and applied to the bitten area in case of animal or insect bites. The juice from the leaves and the powdered dried leaves are also given internally to combat toxicity. Neelamari is used to treat the effects of consuming poisonous mushrooms.Neelamari is found to be effective against arsenic poisoning.
Neelamari as a Hepatoprotectant:
The juice of Neelamari mixed in with honey taken internally cures liver inflammations and also fights jaundice.
Neelamari for Abdominal Disorders:
The leaf and root extracts of Neelamari are used to cure indigestion. A paste applied to the lower abdomen helps with difficulty in urination. It is also used as an ingredient in medicines used to treat leucorrhoea, whooping cough, asthma and fevers.
Neelamari in Haircare:
One of the most popular haircare products Neelibhringadi Thailam has Neelamari as one of its chief ingredients for its proven effectiveness in promoting hair growth and improving the condition and texture of hair. The dried and powdered leaves are called Black Henna and used as a natural and safe hair dye.
Neelamari for Skincare:
The paste of Neelamari is applied to prevent scarring from scabies, burns and wounds. Combined with the paste of red sandalwood, Neelamari is effective against acne and black heads.
Neelamari to Treat the Soil:
Growing Neelamari at home is a good thing not just from a medicinal point of view. It’s good for the soil’s health too. Being a leguminous plant, it fixes the Nitrogen in the soil, improving its fertility. It is also an ideal plant for biofencing.
With such all round effectiveness, Neelamari is one more plant which you need to grow in your backyard. And if you cannot find a sapling or seed of Neelamari in your neighborhood, this is where you can get one.
Image: All rights and credits to Kurt Stuber.
Coming up next: Kattarvazha (Indian Aloe)