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Neelini (Indigofera tinctorial, Indigofera suffruticosa)

Botanical names: Indigofera tinctorial (French indigo) and Indigofera suffruticosa (Guatemalan indigo) formerly known as Indigofera anil L.


Family: Fabaceae


Also known as: Akauveli (itchy plant), Amari, Aniel, Aniles, Anyel, Aviri, Avuri, Inikō, Inikoa, Kolū, Laʻau mageso, Lita, Leela, Neela, Neelam, Nilimandu chettu, Small leaf indigo, True indigo, Vaivai, West Indian Indigo, Wild indigo

The neelini is a member of the bean family and was the original plant used to make indigo dye during the Middle ages.

Neelini is a useful natural remedy for the treatment of digestive disorders, epilepsy, fever, fistulas, haemorrhoids, inflammation, kidney disorders, liver and spleen disorders and scorpion bites and as a natural pain reliever and a remedy to eliminate parasites and worms. It causes diarrhoea and purgation and can relieve constipation.

It can also relieve bone and joint disorders and improve flexibility which is useful for treating arthritis, gout, rheumatism and osteo-arthritis.

The leaves roots and stems act as an expectorant which can relieve asthma, bronchitis, colds and coughs and other respiratory disorders.

Oil from the neelini is a useful remedy for skin disorders and a paste made from the leaves can be used to help wounds heal and stop itching from skin rashes

In the past the leaf and plant juices have been used to treat ovarian and stomach cancers.

Studies have shown that compounds in the neelini plant may have a protective effect against carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity and the aspalathoides content has anti-inflammatory properties.

The anthocyanidin flavonoid, indigotin, is responsible for the dye colour which can be used to naturally dye hair blue/black and is known as neelim. A paste made from the leaves is said to strengthen hair and encourage growth..

Other compounds include apigenin, dehydrodeguelin, kaempferol, rotenoids deguelin, rotenol, rotenone, sumatrol, tephrosin and tutelion.

Note: Neelini may irritate the eyes and cause dermatitis and diarrhoea in some individuals.

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