Indigo dye is an important dyestuff with a
distinctive blue color . The chemical compound that
constitues the indigo dye is called indigotin.
variety of plants, including woad, have provided
indigo throughout history, but most natural indigo
is obtained from those in the genus Indigofera,
which are native to the tropics. In temperate
climates indigo can also be obtained from woad (Isatis
tinctoria) and dyer's knotweed (Polygonum tinctorum),
although the Indigofera species yield more dye.
Natural indigo dye is
extracted from the legume plant Indigofera tinctoria. The process
involves over night fermentation of harvested indigo plant using
bacteria in specially designed cement moulded ring tank. After
fermentation the plant debris are removed and the ferment liquid is
oxidised using specially designed mechanical agitator. The
precipitated indigo settles down at the bottom of the tank as slurry
is collected, boiled and sun dried as indigo cake
- While at
present natural indigo accounts for less than 1% of the total indigo
market, a European Union survey suggests that by 2005 15% of textile
sales will have been dyed using natural products.
consumption of indigo in the 1800s was very large indeed, so in 1866
a German chemist named Adolph von Baeyer began his studies of the
pigment and eventually elucidated its chemical structure so that it
could be synthesized commercially.
At the end of the 19th century, Germany was able to produce
synthetic indigotine cheaper than the natural dyestuff, and thus
Germany then took charge of supplying indigo
- The indigo dye
is used for dyeing of fabrics especially denim cloth for jeans,
printing cotton, rayon and wool. Apart from these it has medicinal
uses such as stimulant, antithelmintic, antiperiodic, ulcers, hair
colourant and several other applications.
- Indigo is
among the oldest dyes to be used for textile dyeing and printing.
Many Asian countries, such as India, China, and Japan, have used
indigo as a dye for centuries. The dye was also known to ancient
civilizations in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Britain, Peru, and Africa.
India is believed to be the oldest center of indigo dyeing in the
Old World. It was a primary supplier of indigo to Europe as early as
the Greco-Roman era.
- The roots,
stems and leaves are biter, thermogenic, laxative, trichogenous,
expectorant, anthelminitic, tonic and diuretic, and are useful for
promoting the growth of hair and in gastropathy, splenomegaly,
cephalagia, cardiopathy, chronic bronchitis, asthma, ulcers and skin
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