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(Chinese indigo; Dyers knotweed;
) Source of a blue dye used in East Asia since ancient times. On the Japanese island of Shikoku the art of indigo dyeing, known as
, is still practiced following traditional methods that go back centuries. Clothes made with
fabrics are remarkably cool in summer and warm in winter. The dye is also antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, which is probably why the samurai wore
clothing under their armour to help prevent rashes caused by chafing and perspiration. A blue powder called
made from the herb has been used for centuries to treat infectious inflammatory diseases, ulcerative colitis, and fever. Recent studies have confirmed its potent anti-inflammatory properties and its effects on chronic gastrointestinal disease and on atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema. Easy to grow annual. Here is a
on how to extract the dye.
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