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Neelini / Indigo / Indigofera Tinctoria - Classification, Ayurvedic Properties & Dosage


Ayurveda is a holistic science that many people widely follow all around the globe. This is a natural system of medicine that started many years ago, this term directly means to spread the knowledge of life that helps to gain longevity. Neelini is Indigofera tinctoria, popularly known as true indigo, belongs to the family Fabaceae or Leguminosae, this herb is widely famous for its treatment properties of reducing fever, maintaining the health of the liver and spleen, or any type of bone or joint disorder. This is found in India for a long time, mainly in Bihar, and Bengal on a large scale. Indigo is a natural source of hair dyes and it stays for a longer time and does not even damage the hair. It gives a deep blue colour, due to its main composition glycoside (glucose and Indoxyl), which helps to give blue dye.

Neelini, Indigo, Indigofera Tinctoria

General Information

Neelini is used in Ayurvedic medicines to achieve the proper growth of hair, texture, and softness and it can be used in the form of powder, paste, or even dyes. This is one of the oldest natural dyestuffs known to mankind and has been used for centuries to obtain blue dye by colouring cloth. This is a small shrub of 1- 2 metres tall, it can be biennial, or perennial according to the weather. It has beautiful pink blooms that are wonderfully used and gives results in various medicinal purposes.

Special Note About This Plant

  • Neelini is a herb that is used against the Kapha- Vata disorders.
  • This herb is widely famous for its treatment purposes of reducing fever, maintaining the health of the liver and spleen, or any type of bone or joint disorder.
  • Neelini consists of dye agents that help to colour the hair, clothes, and many more things, which are named - Indigotin (glycoside), Indican.
  • Acharya Charak has categorised this herb in Purgative medicines (helpful in Virechana karma) and Acharya Sushrut has also categorised this herb under the category of Adhobhaghara herbs.

Systemic Classification

  • Botanical Name - Indigofera tinctoria
  • Family - Fabaceae / Leguminosae
  • Genus - Indigofera
  • Species - I. tinctoria


  • Neelini - Blue-colored Flowers.
  • Ranjani - Helpful in hair or cloth colouring.
  • Tutha - The colour resembles the truth which is copper sulphate.
  • Neel Pushpa - Flowers are of blue colour.
  • Shardi - Ripeness during the winter season.

Other Vernacular Names

  • In Hindi - Neeli
  • In Bengali - Neel
  • In Malayalam - Neeli
  • In Gujrati - Gali
  • In Marathi - Leel
  • In Tamil - Neelam, Avri
  • In Telugu - Aviri, Neelchettu
  • In Farsi - Drakhte-Neel
  • In English - Indigo


  • This is a shrub that is 1 -2 metres tall, is annual, biennial, and perennial, its growth rate depends on the weather, climate, and temperature.
  • It has light green pinnate leaves.
  • It consists of pink and violet colored flowers.
  • This is found in temperate regions of Asia, Africa, or worldwide in various countries.

Classical Categorization

  • Acharya Charak has mentioned this herb in virechnopag mahakashaya as it is helpful in purgative herbs.
  • Acharya Sushrut also mentioned this herb in Adhobhaghara herbs.
  • Bhavprakash Nighantu and Dhanvantari Nighantu have mentioned this herb in Guduchyadi Varga.
  • Kaiyyadev Nighantu has mentioned this herb in Aushadhadi varga.
  • Raj Nighantu has described this herb in Shatahvadi Varga.

Ancient Verse

Shloka - 1

नीली तू नीलिनी तूली काला दोला च नीलिका ।
रंजनी श्रीफली तुत्था ग्रामीणा मधुपर्णिका ।।
क्लीतिका कालकेशी च नीलपुष्पी च सा स्मृता ।
नीलिनी रेचनी तिक्ता केश्या मोहभ्रमापहा ।।
उष्णा हन्त्युदरप्लीहवातरक्तकफानिलान् ।
आमवातमुदावर्तम् मदं च विषमुद्धतम् ।।

Reference - Bhavprakash Nighantu / Guduchyadi Varga

Interpretation of Shloka - Neeli, neelinii, toonni, kala, dola, neelika, ranjani, shreephali, tucha, graameena, madhuparnnika, kleetka, kaalkeshi, neel pushpa are all the synonyms of this herb. This herb is consisting of tikta (bitter), in taste, helps as a purgative, is good for our hair, is of hot potency, reduces vertigo, ascitic conditions, spleen disorders, gout, vataj conditions, osteoarthritis, bloating, alcoholism, and any type of poisoning cases.

Shloka - 2

नीली तिक्ता रसे पाके सरोष्णा भ्रममोहकृत्।
कफनिलहरा केश्या प्लीहोदरविषपहा।।
वातरक्तमुदावर्तमामवातगदं हरेत्।

Reference - Sushrut Samhita Sutra Sthana 28 / 8

Interpretation of Shloka - This herb is tikta (bitter) in taste, purgative, hot potency, and vertigo. It is very effective in Kapha and vata pacification, and good for hair lustre, spleen detoxification, ascites, and poisoning cases. Gout, bloating, and arthritis can be managed with the help of this herb.

Shloka - 3

नीली तिक्ता रसे चोष्णा कटिवातकफपहा ।
केश्या विशोदरम् हन्ति वातासृक्कृमिनाशिनी।।

Reference - Dhanvantari Nighantu

Interpretation of Shloka - This herb is bitter, hot in potency, cures lumbago, poisoning, abdominal diseases, gout, or any helminthic infection, pacifies Kapha dosha, and mainly works in improving the hair texture.

Shloka - 4

नीली तु कटुतिक्तोष्ण केश्य कासकफामनुत्।

Reference - Raj Nighantu

Interpretation of Shloka - This herb is bitter, pungent, hot in potency, good for hair, and reduces cough, Kapha, and vata dosha. It also helps in poisoning cases, is antimicrobial, and calms feverish disorders.

Ayurvedic Properties

  • Rasa (Taste) - Tikta (Bitter)
  • Guna (Quality) - Ruksha (Dry), Laghu (light)
  • Veerya (Potency) - Ushna (Hot)
  • Vipaka (Post digestive effect) - Katu (Pungent)
  • Karma (Action) - Balances the Vata and Kapha dosha.
  • Projyang (Part used) - Roots or whole plants can be used.

Effects On Doshas

  • This herb helps to balance the Vata dosha because of its ushna gunna and helps to balance the Kapha dosha by laghu, ruksh, tikt, ushna gunna.
  • This is widely used for promoting hair growth and as a coloring agent.

Practical Uses

  • This herb is helpful in alleviating kaphaj and vataj disorders.
  • This works as lekhan (scrapping), an analgesic, a good healer, alleviates skin disorders, removes poisoning, anti-helminthic, properties.
  • This acts like a heart tonic, liver protective, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory.
  • This herb is helpful in removing Jangam poisoning from the body.
  • It also helps to maintain body temperature.
  • This herb can be used in powder form to scrap the cataract, and in paste form, it can be applied in osteoarthritis, and hemorrhoids for analgesic effect.
  • In paste form, it can be applied over the non-healing wound or ulcer for quick healing.
  • In snake or dog bites, it can be applied over the wound to reduce the effect of poisoning.
  • This is useful in cough, lung infections, and respiratory disorders to eliminate the Kapha dosha.
  • In feverish conditions, it is given with black pepper powder.


  • Powder of Neelini herb can be used in 3-5 grams.
  • Decoction of the herb can be used up to 50-100ml.
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Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan


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Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan


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