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Indigofera is a large genus of about 700 species of flowering plants belonging to the family Fabaceae. They occur throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, with a few species reaching the temperate zone in eastern Asia.
The species are mostly shrubs, though some are herbaceous, and a few can become small trees up to 5-6 m tall; most are dry-season or winter deciduous. The leaves are pinnate with 5-31 leaflets, the terminal leaflet present; leaf size varies from 3-25 cm long. The flowers are small, produced on racemes 2-15 cm long.
Indigofera species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Turnip Moth.
The chemical aniline, from which many important dyes are derived, was first synthesized from I. suffruticosa (syn. I. anil, whence the name aniline).
Several species of this group are used to alleviate pain. The herbs are generally regarded as an analgesic with anti-inflammatory activity, rather than an anodyne. Indigofera articulata Gouan (arabic Khedaish) was used for toothache, and Indigofera oblongifolia Forsskal (arabic "Hasr") was used as an antiinflammatory for insect stings, snakebites, and swellings. Indigofera suffruticosa and Indigofera aspalthoides have also been used as antiinflammatories. A patent was granted for use of Indigofera arrecta extract to relieve ulcer pain. 
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Indigofera". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|