Wild indigo is a shrub with yellow flowers. The root has been used to help the body fight off the cold and flu. Wild indigo can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. It can also be applied as an oil or cream and has been used to calm sores in the mouth. Wild indigo can also be made into a tea.


There are no advised doses for wild indigo.

What Research Shows

There is not enough data to support that wild indigo is helpful in treating health problems. We will review future studies as they are published.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe for most adults to use wild indigo on the skin and to take it orally in small doses for a short time. Large doses and long term use should be avoided. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use wild indigo.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.


REF1 Henneicke-von Zepelin H, Hentschel C, Schnitker J, et al. Efficacy and safety of a fixed combination phytomedicine in the treatment of the common cold (acute viral respiratory tract infection): results of a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, multicentre study. Curr Med Res Opin. 2000;15:214–27.

REF2 Wustenberg P, Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, Kohler G, et al. Efficacy and mode of action of an immunomodulator herbal preparation containing Echinacea, wild indigo, and white cedar. Adv Ther. 1999;16:51–70.

REF3 Hauke W, Kohler G, Henneicke-Von Zepelin HH, et al. Esberitox N as supportive therapy when providing standard antibiotic treatment in subjects with a severe bacterial infection (acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis). A multicentric, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Chemotherapy. 2002;48:259–66.

REF4 Egert D, Beuscher N. Studies on antigen specifity of immunoreactive arabinogalactan proteins extracted from Baptisia tinctoria and Echinacea purpurea. Planta Med. 1992;58:163–5.

REF5 Wagner H, Jurcic K. Immunologic studies of plant combination preparations. In-vitro and in-vivo studies on the stimulation of phagocytosis [in German]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1992;41:1072–6.

REF6 Beuscher N, Scheit KH, Bodinet C, et al. Immunologically active glycoproteins of Baptisia tinctoria [in German]. Planta Med. 1989;55:358–63.

REF7 Naser B, Lund B, Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical dose-response trial of an extract of Baptisia, Echinacea and Thuja for the treatment of patients with common cold. Phytomedicine. 2005;12:715-22.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 07/2019
  • Update Date: 03/26/2020