Indigofera tinctoria, after due processing, produces the dark blue pigment, indigotin, which has been used for years as a natural dye for yarn and cloth. The form of the dye used for yarn and for hair are very different.
Indigo planters historically cultivated indigo in Bengal since the last quarter of the 18thcentury. They went on to stage the first non-violent revolt against the British in 1859, protesting the extreme oppression and exploitation of the Bengal planters in meeting the huge demand for indigo in the European market. Though the revolt was quelled with merciless punishment and execution of anyone involved with it, the wide press it received lead to a commission of enquiry on the whole state of affairs. Subsequently, a horrified English public as well as members of the commission, strongly criticized the police and administrative action taken against the rebellious peasants, saying that, “… not a chest of indigo reached England without being stained in human blood”.
In 1917-18 the plight of farmers being forced by the British government to grow indigo was highlighted, with the first official civil disobedience movement in Champaran of Bihar, spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi.
In current times, the bulk of indigo is grown in Southern India.
For hair, indigo leaf powder is generally therapeutic too, and people who want to see a faster growth in length also apply this powder.
While it’s effect on the hair is conditioning, the residual powder can make the scalp feel dry, since it cannot be washed off with hair washes for 48 hours after application (it is washed off only with cool water). A warm oil massage (with a medicated oil) of the scalp is highly recommended for moisturising, conditioning, and delivering yet more strengthening and growth for the hair.