Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Herb of Medicinal Value: Rubia cordifola (Manjistha)

Rubia cordifolia:
A Herb of Therapeutic Benefits!

Rubia cordifolia, (Rubiaceae family) is a perennial, herbaceous climber, found throughout Asiatic and African regions of the world. It is considered to be one of the most valuable herbs in Ayurveda and has been largely used by physicians since ancient times for the maintenance of general health. This is commonly known as Manjistha or Indian Madder.

In regions of Asia, Africa & Europe, Rubia was an economically important source of a red pigment called Alizarin, that gives its red color to a textile dye known as Rose Madder. It was also used as a colourant, especially for paint, called as Madder lake.

Rubia is bitter, astringent and sweet in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It has been used in tuberculosis and intestinal ulcer and is recommended by Ayurvedic physicians as a blood purifier for skin diseases and to improve the complexion. The herb is useful in treating skin related problems. The roots of Rubia are widely used in treating pimples, reducing wrinkles, improving complexion, treating burns, healing injuries and lessening inflammations.

Leaves of Rubia cordifolia
The roots of Rubia are said to be alternative, anodyne, antiphlogistic, antitussive, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, styptic, tonic, and vulnerary. They are used to lower blood pressure, as well as internally in the treatment of abnormally uterine bleeding; internal and external hemorrhage; bronchitis; rheumatism, stones in the kidney and bladder, and gall, dysentery, and so on. The roots and fruit are used in treating paralysis and conditions of ulcer. The stem is used in treating cobra bite and scorpion sting. It is used in the treatment of liver fluke, dysentery, maggots & intestinal worms in animals.
The roots contain resinous and extractive matter, gum, sugar, coloring matter, the salt of the pigment being a red crystalline principle purpurine. The yellow glucoside manjistin and a xanthine are also present, besides garancin and orange red alizarin. Anthroquinones pentacyclic triterpenes, quinines, cyclic hexapeptides and diethylesters are also reported. Other compounds isolated are xantho-purpurin, glucose, sucrose and ruberythric acid. Alizarin, purpurin, purpurin carbohydrate, quinizarine and christofin isolated from roots. Antitumor cyclic hexapeptides – RA-V and RA-VII – isolated from roots.

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