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Indigofera tinctoriaIndigofera tinctoria
Indigo
The dye made from this Saturn plant is produced by fermentation and has been used in Asia for over 5000 years.  At the beginning of the 17th century, it replaced woad in Western Europe as the blue dye of choice because of its greater strength. Despite its rather complicated preparation, indigo is one of the few blue dyes from nature, it does not fade, it dyes in cold water, and it requires no mordant. In early America, some types of indigo were so valued that cubes of it were used as money, and it was a valuable crop on Sea Island plantations, where slaves were made to stand in the vats and oxygenate the dye by paddling it for 2-3 days. In India it is known as black henna and employed in hair dye and hair dressing oils as well as body decoration; there the British Empire forced peasants to grow it for export instead of rice for food because the British so valued the color.  It also plays a role in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where the herb's bitterness is applied to stop bleeding and as an antiseptic. Indigo red, a brown aspect of the dye, has been shown to be effective against leukemia.  This plant is a legume, which means it fixes nitrogen in the soil. It also kills nematodes. The color indigo represents the Third Eye and is traditionally associated with deep meditation and great stillness. Top

Indigo harvest How to grow Indigo: This tender perennial needs hot, humid weather and a mild climate, but it can be grown in more northern climes as an annual. Nick with a sharp knife away from the "eye" of the seeds or rub the seeds gently between sand paper for 2-5 minutes to wear off part of the coat and then soak for 24 hours in warm water. Because many people germinate these seeds using an acid to cut through the hard seed coat, this is a good seed to try a hydrogen peroxide soak with; instead of nicking or rubbing with sandpaper, soak in a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide solution like you get from the store with 9 parts filtered water (no chlorine) for 24 hours. Drain and plant in peat pellets soaked in a solution of liquid kelp, which helps germination. If possible, use fluctuating temperatures between 68F/20C at night and 86F/30C during the day; bottom heat on a timer or just turn it off at night can speed germination after sowing, but it can still take over a month to germinate.  It likes full sun and grows 3-6ft/90-180cm tall. Transplant to full sun 3ft/90cm apart. You can harvest the leaves up to four times a year.   General growing info. Top

 

Indigofera tinctoria
Indigo
75 seeds $4.00

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Saturn Herb

I now have genuine indigo

Other Dye Plants:

Woad
Weld
Dyer's Chamomile
Dyer's Broom
Dyer's coreopsis
Safflower

2004, 2017 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission