Indigofera tinctoria, popularly known as true indigo, is a species of plant from the Fabaceae ⁄ Leguminosae (Pea family) that was one of the original sources of indigo dye. Commonly, known as neelayamari in Malayalam, Neeli chetu in Telugu, Neelam in Tamil, and Neel in Hindi, Indian/true indigo in English and neelini/ neelika/ renjini in Sanskrit is a medicinally as well as commercially useful leguminous plant.
The plant is utilized in Ayurveda as an important constituent in several hair growth promoting oils such as Neelibringadhi oil.
TALE OF INDIGO
Naturalized to tropical and temperate Asia, as well as parts of Africa, but its native habitat is unknown since it has been in cultivation worldwide for many centuries. This plant was cultivated in India for long time. The British encouraged its commercial cultivation for export, in Bihar and Bengal in large scale at the cost of normal food grain cultivation leading to famine in India. The farmers revolted against the East India company in 1859 known as the Indigo revolt.
WHY THE NAME ‘INDIGO’?
The name indigo comes from the Roman term ‘indicum’, which means a product of India. This is rather of a misnomer since the plant is grown in many areas of the world, including Asia, Japan, and Central America. Another ancient term for the dye is ‘neel’ from which the Arabic term for blue, al-nil, is derived. The English word aniline comes from the same source.
NATURAL HAIR DYE
A natural and healthier alternative of hair dyes that will help you cut down on chemicals while giving you gorgeous, dark black tresses. The chemicals that the synthetic hair dyes contain may not be good for your hair in the long run.
Neeli (Indigo plant) is a natural source of indigo dye, which is one of the oldest natural dyestuffs known to mankind.
Its leaves when dried in shade turn blue in color. It has been used for centuries to obtain blue dye used in coloring clothes. It is much less in demand today for commercial dye purposes because of the creation of synthetic dyes which have now taken its place for most purposes.
As early as more than 5,000 years ago, our ancestors in India, East Asia and Egypt probably used the blue dye derived from the Indigofera Tinctoria plant to dye their clothes.
They must have really adored the deep blue, almost violet shade that could be produced with the help of this plant ,otherwise, they would not have gone through the very demanding process necessary to achieve it.
How Is Indigo Powder Hair Dye Made?
The blue coloring matter is naturally present in indigo leaves in the form of glycoside (glucose and Indoxyl). Once the leaves are soaked in water and fermented, the sugar (glucose) is consumed by the bacteria releasing the Indoxyl. Indoxyl is the precursor to indigo dye and is called white indigo. When indoxyl oxidises, we get blue dye.
To make the indigo powder hair dye, indigo plants are harvested and the leaves are collected separately. Then they are partially fermented to release the dye, sun dried till crisp to remove any moisture and then powdered.
Indigo is a small shrub of 1 to 2 meters height and is biennial and perennial depending on climate. It produces beautiful pink flowers. Indigo plant has wonderful medicinal uses and all parts of the plant are used medicinal purpose. This shrub is of two varieties namely small and long, both of which are used.
In ancient times, indigo was a precious commodity because plant leaves consists of only about small amount of the dye (about 2-4%). Therefore, a large number of plants are required to produce a significant quantity of dye. Indigo plantations were founded in many parts of the world to ensure a controlled supply.
Amazing hair benefits
- Neelayamari is a reputed drug for the promotion of hair growth.
- Premature Greying of the Hair: Indigo leaf is an amazing home remedy for treating premature graying of the hair. Regular use of indigo leaves powder will reverse and prevent graying of the hair.
- Hair growth-Indigo hair oil made with the leaves is amazing for hair growth. It prevents scalp infections and stimulates new hair growth when used regularly.
- Dandruff-The indigo leaves powder is also a very good remedy for dandruff. It reduces dandruff greatly and if used from young age, it will greatly prevent dandruff.
- Hair Dye that lasts forever-One main hair benefit of indigo is that it acts as a natural hair dye it is one of nature’s gifts considering the side effects of chemical hair dyes which range from increased sensitivity to skin allergies.
- For Dry Hair Indigo hair oil is one of the best conditioners that soften your hair really well
- Leaves are important in medicine and form a major ingredient of preparations like 'Neelilibhringadi oil'.
- It prevents scalp infections and soothes the scalp.
Indigo smoothens the tangles, makes your hair thicker, more manageable and lustrous.
For Black Hair and Hair fall:
Obtain Indigo leaves and crush them to a juice. To this add equal quantity of black Sesame seeds oil. Put this mix on a stove and warm on a slow flame, till only oil remains. Remove and let it cool. Store in a glass bottle. Apply this oil daily on the scalp and hair. It will stop graying hair and restore black hair.
Neelibhringadi Oil made with mixture of Indigo leaves and bhringaraj leaves boiled in sesame oil is an excellent hair tonic that help restoring natural color of hair and prevent premature greying.
What’s the best and safe way to dye your hair black?
Indigofera tinctoria (Neelayamari) powder combined with henna powder, an abundantly used natural hair dye combination to get the lovely and shiny black hair. The dried, ground leaves of the Indigofera Tinctoria plant, is a completely organic gift from nature for dyeing hair. It can be used in conjunction with organic henna to get a variety of shades from black to brown red-brown or used on its own to darken brown or red hair.
- In Ayurveda, Twigs of this plant are recommended to be used as toothbrushes.
- The plant is sometimes grown as a cover crop and green manure.
- The dried, crushed leaves are used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a masking agent and tonic.
- Due to antitoxic property it is also a good remedy for poisons.
- An extract of the leaves is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner.
- Leaf extract is also used to treat burns and sores on cattle and horses
- The leaf extract of Indigofera tinctoria have profound antibacterial, anti-oxidant and sedative activity.
- The extract was found to contain bioactive compounds like flavonoid, saponins, tannins, steroidal terpenes, phenols and anthroquinone which was responsible for antibacterial activity.
- Neelamari is effective against asthma, whooping cough, stomach ache etc.
- It is also useful in treating liver, kidney and heart complaints.
- Application of a paste of indigo plant on the lower abdomen region removes difficulty in urination.
- Leaf juice is effective against various stomach problems.
- The plant is well known for its antivenomous property.
Bipha Neelibhringadi oil – Excellence of Indigo as oil
A perfect hair tonic with extracts of Indigo. It is purely an Ayurvedic formulation with richness of coconut oil/ hair secrets.
The key ingredients of this oil includes · Indigo, Bhringaraj(Eclipta alba) – king of herbs in hair care · Amla(Indian gooseberry)- promote hair growth and Milks – blend of coconut milk, cow milk, goat milk and buffalo milk makes it ultimate nourishing oil. Neelibhringadi Thailam is widely used and seen with the best results for multiple hair problems. As the oil contains coconut oil as the base oil it suites for everyone even for children. The presence of pure herbal extractions helps in treating diseases which affect hair and scalp. The oil moisturizes and nourishes the hair follicles, prevents hair fall and promotes hair growth. In addition it also prevents premature greying of hair.
The benefits that Neelibhringadi oil can bring on to your hair is unfathomable.