Manjistha, Rubia cordifolia

Description of Plant

Manjistha is a climbing or scrambling herb, with red rhizomatous base and roots. It can grow up to 150 cm (1.5 m). The stem is slender and four angled. Its leaves are rough, evergreen that whorls around its main stem in groups of 4-7, arranged in whorl of four per node and oval to heart shaped with long leaf stalk. The leaves have 5-7 main nerves. Flowers are very small, greenish white and arranged in branched cluster called dichasial cyme (forked flowering stalk, which bears specific number of flowers in each branch). Manjistha flowers often blossoms in the month of June to August. The flowers have five petals measuring 3-5 mm across and appear pale yellow. The berries in shades of red to black follow these tiny flowers. Moreover, Manjistha roots can grow as thick as 12 mm and 1 meter long. As the herb's name implies, its roots are bright red or brownish red in color and gives red dye. The fruit is round fleshy drupe. When ripe is dark-purple.

General Description

Manjistha is one of the most valuable herb used in Ayurveda. In ancient times it was used to color the clothes, due to its artificial coloring agent. In Ayurveda its medicinal uses are also emphasized. It is categorized into different class as per Ayurvedic classification such as Charak categorized the herb as varnya (improves the complexion), jvarahara, (reduces fever) and visaghna (anti-toxic). It is also a well-known rasayana - a rejuvenative, Sushruta has mentioned Manjistha as pittasamsamana or that which pacifies the pitta dosha.

It is best known for blood purification and helpful in various skin diseases. Manjistha herb also corrects the functioning of whole urinary system and prevents kidney stones.

Its principal constituents are purpurin, munjistin, xanthopurpurin or purpuroxanthin and Pseudopurpurin.

Classification

  • Latin name - Rubia cordifolia
  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Order - Genitanales
  • Family - Rubiaceae
  • Genus - Rubia
  • Species - R. cordifolia

Habitat

Manjistha is a renowned medicinal herb commonly found in India, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Names

  • Botanical name - Rubia cordifolia
  • Common name - Indian Madder, Madderwort
  • Bengali name - Manjishta
  • Sanskrit name - Vikasa, Yojanavalli, Jingi, Samanga, Lohitalata, Bhandiri, Raktanga, Vastrabhushana, Kalameshi, Lata
  • Hindi name - Manjeeth
  • Tamil name - Manjitti
  • Telugu name - Tamravalli
  • Kannada name - Raktamanjishte
  • Malayalam name - Manjetti
  • Arabian name - Phuvva
  • Farsi name - Runas

Ayurvedic Properties

Hindi / Sanskrit English
Rasa Tikta, Kashaya, Madhura Taste Bitter, Astringent, Sweet
Guna Guru, Rooksha Physical Property Heavy, Dry
Virya Ushna Potency Hot
Vipaka Katu Metabolic Property (After Digestion) Pungent

Effects on Doshas

It is Kapha Pitta Shamak that helps to pacify the vitiated Kapha and Pitta. It is mainly Pittahara.

Classical Categorization

Charak Samhita Sushrut Samhita Vagbhata
  • Jvarahara (Helps in fever)
  • Varnya (Good for skin)
  • Vishaghna (Anti-poisonous and Anti-toxic)
  • Priyangvadi and Pittasamshamana
  • Priyangvadi

Ancient Verse about Rubia cordifolia

Ancient Verse about Rubia cordifolia

The Bhavprakash nighantu, edition of 1998: verse 188-191, page no-110-112.

It states that there are various names of manjith - manjistha, viksa, jingi, samanga, kalmeshika, mandukarpani, bhandiri, bhandi, yojnavalli, rasayni, aruna, rakatyashtika, bhanditki, manjusha and vastrajinni.

The second verse states that the properties of manjistha are madhur, astringent and bitter in taste and heavy in nature and with hot potency. It has ability to balance all three doshas. It removes toxins, manages cough, gynecological diseases, eye and ear disorders, skin diseases, blood disorders and diabetes.

Reference

The Bhavprakash nighantu with elaborated Hindi commentary by Padmashri prof. K.C. Chunekar, edited by Dr. G.S. Pandey: edition of 1998: verse 188-191, page no-110-112.

Practical Uses of Rubia Cordifolia

  • Blood purifier - It is one of the best herb used for blood purifying and removes toxins from the body.
  • Anti-bacterial and anti-microbial - This herb contains natural substances like tannins and sulfur natural substances that give ability to eliminate bacterial infections.
  • Anti-inflammatory - It contains salicylates and triterpenoids substances that alleviate swelling or inflammation. Also helpful in skin disorders and heals the wound.
  • Antispasmodic properties - Gives relief from muscle spasm and painful uterine cramps during menstruation. It also aids in promoting normal menstrual cycles. This herb has ability to cleanse the uterus, thereby improving menstrual flow.
  • Immunity enhancer - It helps to boost your immunity and increases the white blood cells of immune system. The herb increases strength of body to fight against various infections and debilitating diseases.
  • Anxiety and mood disorders - It may raise the level of Dopamine i.e. neurotransmitter in brain that controls the brain activity. Also provides relief from anxiety and mood disorders.
  • Joint problem - This herb used to treat raised uric acid, arthritis associated with gout, glandular swellings. It helps to remove uric acid from body.
  • Manjistha has astringent property that reduces motility and is anthelmintic. Therefore used in diarrhea, dysentery associated with bleeding and different helminthes. 
  • It acts as good appetizer and has good digestive capacity.
  • The herb is used in fever, especially chronic pyrexia and fever after delivery.
  • It is used in different skin diseases like leprosy, erysipelas and hypopigmentation.
  • Very beneficial in weakness, general debility and poisoning.
  • The herb helps to maintain cholesterol level in body and controls blood pressure.
  • It works very well both internally and externally to promote skin glow and lustre.
  • This herb contains Ruberythric acid substance that makes ability to remove calcium stones from urinary tract.

Part used

Roots, Stem

Dosage

  • Powder - 1-3 gm
  • Decoction - 20-50 ml.

Ayurvedic Product of Rubia cordifolia from Planet Ayurveda

Navkarshik Churna

It is one of the herbal powder formulation which is used in various disorders like arthritis, joint pain. This churna helps to remove toxins from blood and it is useful in various skin diseases.

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