Indigofera astragalina is an erect to straggling, branched annual plant growing around 25 - 150cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
Africa - Mauritania to Eritrea, south to S. Africa, avoiding high rainfall areas; E. Asia - Indian subcontinent to Myanmar
Sandy grounds; muddy sand; sand on sandstone; often ruderal; rocaille; waste or cultivated ground; heavely grazed grassland; at elevations up to 1,800 metres[
Indigofera species generally grow best in a sunny position, preferring a well-drained but moist soil[
]. Many of the species will also succeed in drier conditions and in poor soils.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Various parts of this medicinal plant are used in Indian System of Medicine to treat various illnesses such as rheumatism, arthritis, inflammation, tumor and liver diseases[
The leaves are used in the treatment of diarrhoea[
Various extracts of the whole plant have been shown to have significant antioxidant activity, probably due to the presence of flavonoids and phenolic compounds[
Various extracts of the whole plant have been shown to have significant cytotoxic activity against a wide range of animal and human cancer cell lines. This anticancer activity is probably connected to the rich amount of phytochemicals (including alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, polyphenolics and saponins), that are found in the plant[
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.