Woad plant Glastum -  Isatis tinctoria by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 15 2016

Woad is an ancient dye and medicinal plant with potent anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties.

Woad is the common name of a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. Woad is sometimes called Asp of Jerusalem. Woad is also the name of a blue dye produced from the plant, the warpaint of ancient Britons and Celts. Woad has been cultivated throughout Europe, especially in Western and southern Europe since ancient times.

Woad extract and inflammation
Several substances in woad have anti-inflammatory activity. One such substance is tryptanthrin, a known dual inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and 5-LOX. Tryptanthrin is a pharmacologically active compound with potent inhibitory activity on prostaglandin and leukotriene synthesis and on inducible nitric oxide synthase. Woad also has indigo and indigo precursors, including indoxyl glycosides called isatan A and Isatan B.

Phytomedicine. 2010. The plant extract Isatis tinctoria L. extract (ITE) inhibits allergen-induced airway inflammation and hyperreactivity in mice.

Woad and cancer
Woad, a member of the cabbage family, has many more times an anti-cancer chemical than its vegetable cousin broccoli, already the subject of research. The chemical glucobrassicin, one of a group of compounds called glucosinolates, acts against estrogen in the human body, which can promote the growth of breast cancer.