Wild Indigo is native to the eastern parts of North America and Canada. While Native Americans have long used it medicinally, the new settlers found application for it as a dye plant and used it instead of Woad. However, it proved a poor substitute. In New England the young shoots are eaten as a spring vegetables, similar to Poke Root or Asparagus. But like Poke, if picked too late, the dish can have a drastic cathartic effect.
Native Americans used this plant mostly as a first-aid remedy for snake bites and to dress wounds. The American Eclectics adopted the herb and used it to treat ulcers and infected skin conditions in cases where the tissues seem to have lost their tone. It was also regarded as effectual in various infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, diphtheria, scarlet fever and jaundice, to reduce swollen lymph nodes and was used in catarrhal conditions of the upper respiratory tract.
Can be used as a dye for ritual garments. The root may be used as a talisman or amulet for protection.