Botanical Name – Isatis tinctoria
Chinese Name – BAN LAN GEN
English Name – Indigo Root
Tincture made by a process of hydro-ethanolic percolation, with a ratio of 1 part Indigo Root to 3 parts liquid. Liquid comprises of 75% water and 25% sugar beet derived ethanol.
Isatis tinctoria, also called woad, dyer’s woad, or glastum, and Indigowoad is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. Woad is also the name of a blue dye produced from the leaves of the plant.
is native to the steppe and desert zones of the Caucasus, Central Asia to Eastern Siberia and Western Asia but is now also found in South-Eastern and Central Europe and western North America.
Since ancient times, Isatis tinctoria was an important source of blue dye and was cultivated throughout Europe, especially in Western and Southern Europe.
Medicinal Action and Uses
Antibiotic – Isatis is one of the most effective TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) herbs used as an herbal antibiotic, antiseptic and anti-viral. TCM doctors use it whenever there are signs of fever or toxic heat from viral illness, blood poisoning, leukemia, hepatitis, meningitis, scarlet fever, sinus infections, laryngitis, tonsillitis, mumps, and other similar ailments. It is an effective alternative to Western prescription antibiotics in some cases.
Anti-Bacterial – Its antibacterial action is effective against Bacillus subtilis, haemolytic streptococcus,, C. diphtheriae, E. coli, Bacillus typhi, B. paratyphi, Shigella dysenteriae, S. flexneri and Salmonella enteritidis.
Anti-Cancer – Root extracts have been used to treat patients with solid tumors and leukemia.
Anti-Microbial – Isatis root extracts have also been used to treat infection. The anti-microbial action of the root is likely more broad-spectrum than that of the leaves.
Product is supplied in amber PET bottles with tamper evident screw tops.
Product is supplied in amber PET bottles with tamper evident screw tops. This keeps the contents fresh and protected from light. Look out for the QR code on the label - you can scan this with your smartphone to download the Certificate of Analysis document for this product.
What is a Tincture?
A herbal tincture is a concentrated extract of one or more herbs. The liquid in a tincture is a combination of alcohol and water. A tincture must contain at least 20% alcohol for preservation purposes. Alcohol concentrations tend to vary between 20% and 60%, but can be as high as 90% in some circumstances. At Herbal Apothecary we generally produce tinctures with alcohol concentrations of 25% - 45%. We use ethanol derived from sugar beat.
How Is A Tincture Made?
To produce the Isatis tinctoria / BAN LAN GEN / Indigo Root Tincture we combine a quantity of herb with a proportional amount of liquid. Depending on the herb and the strength of tincture required this ratio can be 1:2, 1:3 or 1:4. The herb, alcohol and water is placed in a production vessel suitable for the size of the batch.
Traditionally, tinctures have been made by a process of maceration. This is where the herb sits in the liquid and over a period of time the plant cells break down. This allows the plant matter to be released into the liquid. Occasionally the producer might agitate the mixture to help the process along.
At Herbal Apothecary we have spent decades improving our tincture production processes. We use a system called Hydro-Ethanolic Percolation. Percolation is where liquid slowly passes through the herb, from top to bottom. In our case, the liquid is not simply passed through the herb once and then collected. Instead, it is continually cycled through the herb. Hydro-Ethanolic Percolation is a combination of maceration and traditional percolation. The circulation of liquid through a spray head agitates the herb, helping the key chemical compounds to be released into the liquid.
Our production vessels are primarily stainless steel. We use low voltage (24v) pumps to circulate the liquid. We have also developed a system of float switches and relays. These ensure the pumps only activate when an adequate level of liquid is present in the sump at the bottom of the vessel. It can take some time for the liquid to filter through the herb.
We produce most of our tinctures using dried herbs, although we sometimes use fresh. It's important that the size of the pieces of herb in the production vessel are small enough for the alcohol to thoroughly penetrate. No prior processing is required for flowers and leaves which are smaller and more delicate. However, for roots, bark and berries which tend to be tougher and larger we use herbs which are diced up into small pieces. This ensures that the maximum amount of plant material can be extracted into the liquid.
The manufacturing process takes 7 days to complete. Once the process is finished, the herb is pressed to extract every last drop of precious liquid. The Isatis tinctoria / BAN LAN GEN / Indigo Root Tincture is filtered and then stored in bulk containers, before being bottled in smaller 250ml, 500ml and 1000ml quantities.
Click here if you'd like to know more about our herbal tincture manufacturing technology. At Herbal Apothecary we are committed to research - we want to provide a robust evidence base for the products we produce. As a result we review our manufacturing systems and processes in order to ensure we're making best use of the raw ingredients.