Indigo is one of the popular colors of the rainbow. It may also be your favorite color in the crayon box. The rich, bluish-purple hue also represents the third eye chakra. What you may not know is that the color indigo comes from the dye obtained from the wild indigo herb, also called Baptisia tinctoria.
For years, the main purpose of wild indigo was as a dye. In fact, the Latin name for tinctoria means “to dye.” It was later discovered that wild indigo could be used as an antiseptic to rinse wounds, and as an immune system stimulant. Homeopathic baptisia has also been found, as a homeopathic remedy, to treat a wide range of health conditions, including an acute fever, throat infections, intestinal infections, septic conditions, and more. Read on to learn more about homeopathic baptisia, including its many health benefits and uses.
Homeopathic Baptisia: Facts and History
Wild indigo is a perennial plant that is found in most regions of North America. The shrub-like pant will grow as high as three feet, and it bears yellow-hued blossoms that look similar to members of the lentil family (Fabaceae). Other names for wild indigo include indigo weed, horsefly weed, yellow false indigo, and rattleweed,
The flowers will usually grow between May and September. At one time, the plant grew naturally in forestlands and open fields, but now, wild indigo is gradually becoming scarce. The main reason for this is the high demand for wild indigo for dietary herbal supplements.
Native Americans and early European settlers first used wild indigo as an antiseptic wash for wounds. Later, practitioners used wild indigo as an antiseptic and an immune system stimulant. However, significant doses of the wild indigo plant are considered poisonous when ingested. Today, herbalists use wild indigo as an antibacterial, antiseptic, and soothing agent for throat infections.
In the world of homeopathic remedies, baptisia was first proven in a small-scale trial in the 1850s before being introduced into the homeopathic repertory in 1857. Baptisia is made from taking the root and bark of the wild indigo plant; then, it is pulped and steeped in alcohol for an eight-day period.
How Baptisia Treats Fevers
Baptisia is considered a minor and yet invaluable remedy used in homeopathy. Initially, baptisia was first developed and almost exclusively used for a typhoid fever, and conditions where an extreme fever accompanied confusion and fatigue.
In modern times, baptisia is used mostly for acute fever that is high and often comes without any warning. The typhoid fever is considered one of the most serious bacterial diseases in third-world countries. Although the typhoid fever is often treated with antibiotics, due to antibiotic resistant strains the doctor may opt for alternative treatment. Studies have suggested that Baptisia tinctoria herbal extract can be used to treat and prevent typhoid fever.
How does homeopathic baptisia help acute fever? The homeopathic remedy is useful when the face is darkly flushed and the tongue may be discolored or coated. The tongue may be deep red or brown in color, or coated and dry down the center. Great lethargy may accompany symptoms, while the person may also experience tenderness, bruised and sore, heavy, and stiff muscles. The symptoms improve from being indoors and getting rest; however, symptoms worsen from open air, wind, cold, and walking.
Homeopathic Profile and Other Uses and Health Benefits of Baptisia
In homeopathy, the remedy profile is significant to help determine whether baptisia is the right fit for you. Although there isn’t necessarily a type of personality that benefits most from homeopathic baptisia, there are often some very identifiable characteristics or symptoms that help constitute a homeopathic profile for baptisia.
For instance, the person will often suffer from nightmares and delirium, and may even fall asleep during conversations. The person will feel a sensation that their body is being scattered in pieces. This feeling can result in difficulty falling asleep, and sensations of suffocation and breathlessness. Due to a fever, the person may suffer from confusion, delirium, or may seem drunk and in a stupor.
The most common physical symptoms associated with baptisia include bad breath and a bitter-tasting mouth with a yellowish-brown tongue, and the face may be swollen and flushed dark red with drooping eyelids. There will also be muscular aches with a bruised feeling. The person will also sense that their bed is too hard and uncomfortable, and they will also tend to curl up in the fetal position.
What are other key health benefits of homeopathic baptisia? Although baptisia is best known as a fever remedy, it is also used to treat other major health problems. Let’s take a deeper look at how baptisia is useful for severe influenza, septic infections, sore throats and throat infections, and gastrointestinal infections.
The flu, or influenza, is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms of the flu will generally differ from a cold. The flu will include body-wide symptoms, including fever, body aches, and general fatigue. It often takes people weeks to completely recover from a flu, whereas it only takes a few days to get over a cold.
Symptoms that indicate baptisia is the best remedy include sore, heavy, and aching muscles with rapid exhaustion, weakness, and toxicity. The person may also fall asleep while talking. Delirium, confusion, and restlessness may also be present. Symptoms will worsen from the cold, fog, humidity, and pressure.
2. Septic Conditions
Septic shock is a serious condition that occurs when sepsis leads to dangerously low blood pressure and cellular metabolism abnormalities. Septic shock can lead to stroke, respiratory or heart failure, failure of other organs, and even death.
Homeopathic baptisia is used for septic conditions when there are foul-smelling ulcers in the mouth and throat along with a foul-smelling discharge. The person’s sweat, urine, and breath may also have an offensive odor.
The symptoms will often be sudden with fatigue and stupor, and may be due to septicemia, an incomplete miscarriage, or another septic state that is marked by an acute fever.
3. Throat Infections
It often starts with a sore throat and later develops into a throat infection. Homeopathic baptisia is used for throat infections, especially when it is difficult to swallow food. That being said, drinking small amounts of liquid will be manageable. A related ear infection may also set in the right ear.
The tonsils will also be dark red and swollen, and ulcers or little sores will also be present throughout the throat with pain and burning. The person’s lips may be blue, cracked, or bleeding. Symptoms worsen from walking in the open air; however, symptoms improve from rest and being indoors.
4. Gastrointestinal Infections
Baptisia is often the best homeopathic remedy for terrible bouts of diarrhea with a fever, and even some delirium. When diarrhea is present, it may also smell foul, and the rectum will be irritated and sore. However, passing of a stool is not painful.
The person’s tongue may also have a yellowish coating with a bitter taste in the mouth. In some extreme circumstances, blood may also appear in the stools, or even a pink rash on the abdomen that could indicate typhoid fever.
Baptisia: Final Thoughts
It is important to understand the difference between the herbal wild indigo supplement and homeopathic baptisia, especially when buying the products over the counter at your health food store’s supplement department. Wild indigo can be purchased in liquid tincture, dried root form, or in combination with other herbs like echinacea, thuja, myrrh, or poke root. It is also used internally as a mouthwash or externally as an ointment.
On the other hand, homeopathic baptisia is often found in liquid or pellet form. Although large doses of herbal wild indigo are toxic, homeopathic baptisia is completely safe and effective for several health conditions like acute, fevers, septic infections, sore throats, severe influenza, and gastrointestinal infections.
You can also get homeopathic baptisia straight from your homeopath after they have determined that the remedy for right for your physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Your homeopath is also the best person to recommend the best dosage based on the severity of your symptoms.
Lockie, A., Encyclopedia of Homeopathy: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to Homeopathic Remedies and Treatments for Common Ailments (New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 2000), 40, 224, 226, 232, 238.
Banerji, P., et al., “Efficacy of Baptisia tinctoria in the treatment of typhoid: its possible role in inducing antibody formation,” Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, July 2, 2012; 9: Article 15, doi: 10.1515/1553-3840.1622.
Hershoff, A., N.D., Homeopathic Remedies: A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and Their Homeopathic Treatments (New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1999), 195.
“Baptisia,” herbs2000.com; http://www.herbs2000.com/homeopathy/baptisia.htm, last accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
“Baptisia Tinctoria,” Home Remedy Central; http://www.homeremedycentral.com/en/homeopathic-remedies/homeopathy/baptisia.html, last accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
“Baptisia,” Beneforce; http://www.beneforce.com/informationfaq/homeopathic/baptisia.htm, last accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
“Wild Indigo Uses and Benefits as a Medicinal Herb,” The herbal resource; https://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com/wild-indigo-herb.html, last accessed June 27, 2017.