Most commonly recognized for its beautiful, distinct blue coloring, indigo has many uses beyond a dye for fabric. In Japan, indigo has been used as "medicinal herb" for a centuries.
Here are some not so common uses for indigo. Some of them may surprise you!
Indigo is edible and can be consumed as a tea. Not only are the leaves and stems used, but also the root, flower and seed depending on the season.
Edible indigo powder
Indigo can be made into and powder which has a variety of edible uses including in sweets, sauce, spices and smoothies.
Wild indigo is said to increase immune function and has been used to fightthe common cold and flu (especially when combined with echinacea, boneset, and homeopathic arnica).*
Indigo is said to have antibacterial effects and can be an effective way to prevent odors. Indigo clothing has been used as a remedy for skin trouble or eczema, while also repelling insects. Ancient samurais used to wear indigo clothing under their armor to help heal wounds and it can more recently be found in soaps.
In olden days, Japanese firefighters used indigo clothing to protect themselves due to its flame retardant abilities (up to 1500F!).
A natural, chemical free dye, indigo can make your hair appear darker. It can also be combined with henna for a more dark-brown coloring.