With more and more people going the au naturel way, ayurvedic herbs and home remedies are garnering oodles of attraction. Moreover, people are always on the lookout for natural ways to cleanse and purify the blood which ultimately leads to remedying a host of health issues, especially skin conditions. Well, one such incredible blood-purifying herb is Manjistha.
What Is Manjistha?
Manjistha which goes by the scientific name Rubia cordifolia is a type of flowering plant from the coffee family Rubiaceae. Manjistha is an herbaceous branched climber or creeper of evergreen origin that grows up to 10 m. It has thick, long, cylindrical, bark which is red in colour and long, slender, quadrangular stems that are sometimes prickly or glabrous. The leaves are ovate or heart shaped, pointed, and arranged in a whorl on the stems. The flowers are very small, greenish white and arranged in a branched cluster. Fertile flowers are followed by small globose berries that are initially green turning in to bluish-black, or reddish-purple as they mature. The fruits usually enclose small globose seeds. Manjistha being a creeper plant chiefly uses tiny hook like structures at the leaves and stems to climb some structure.
The plant is usually found growing in scrub vegetation, moist deciduous forests, forest edges, shrubs, grass slopes, grassland or open, rocky areas, and semi-evergreen forests. It thrives best in well-watered loamy soils. The plant is native to North Africa, Siberia, Greece, Manchuria, China, Japan, India, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sikkim, Tibet and Nepal.
Common Names Of Manjistha
Manjistha is known by different names in different parts of the world. Few of the common names include Aromatic madder, Indian madder, Munjeet Madder wort, Bengal madder, Rubia root, and Runas.
In the Indian subcontinent, this spectacular blood-purifying herb is known as Majith, Manjit, Munjistha, Munjeet, Lachkura, Malo, Mamjith in Hindi, Manjistha, Munjeet, Manjith in Bengali, Amutacakaram, Arunai, Cakkarankam, Cavalkoti, Cevvalli, Citti, Kalametikai, Kancini, Kokilavicam, Mancatti, Mancisti, Mancitti, Mancukam, Manditta, Manjishi, Manjiti, Nakanokam, Paccaimuruli, Panti, Puncitti, Sevallikodi, Shevvelli, Tamiramulam, Tamiravalli, Tampuramalli, Yocanavalli, Manjittie vayr in Tamil, Chiranji, Mandastic, Manderti, Manjishta, Manjishtathige, Tamravalli, in Telugu, Sivollikkodi, Poont, Ellumbarakki, Manjishta, Poovathu, Manjetti, Chovvallikkodi, Manjadi in Malayalam, Chithravalli, Ishtamadhuka, Jingi, Kaadu balli, Kai kuyika, Manjushtha, Siragatti, Somalate, Tharakalu balli, Yojana balli in Kannada, Manjitha, Chitravalli in Marathi, and Manjit in Punjabi.
Ayurveda knows this plant by the several Sanskrit terminologies including Aruna, Bhandiri, Chitrangi, Gauri, Harini, Hemapushpi, Janani, Jingi, Jvarahantri, Kala, Kala-meshika, Kalabhandika, Kandira, Kshetrini, Latayashti, Lohitika, Raktanga, Raktayashti, Rasayani, Rohini, Samanga, Tamramuli, Tamravalli, Tamrika, Vapra, Vasrabhushana, Vasraranjani, Vastrabhusana, Mandukaparni, Manjishtha, Nagakumarika, Ragadhya, Ragangi, Rakta, Vijaya, Yojanaparnika, Yojanavalli, Yojanavallika, Munjistha etc.
Ayurvedic Indications Of Manjistha
Since the Vedic period, Manjistha denoted as "Atreya Aranyaka” has been mentioned by the ancient Indian sage and physician, Charaka, as a "rejuvenative herb" that confers potent detoxifying effects. Several ayurvedic scriptures and journals mention this bright red root for various indications which include Pandu (treats skin disorders), Raktadoshahara (blood purifying), Yakrit Vikara (prevents liver infections), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea), Jvara (useful in fever), Kamala (prevents jaundice), Kasahara (Relieves cough), Amahara (treats indigestion), Dahahara (relieves burning sensation), Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties), Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Kupachan (prevents bloating, indigestion), Anulomana (improves breathing), Vayasthapana (prevents ageing), Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding), Hridaya (treats heart problems), Vran Ropana (heals wounds), Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders), Prameha (manages diabetes), Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting), Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst), Pandu (treats anaemia), Balya (improves muscle strength), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), and Vamanopaga (treats emesis), Varnya (improves complexion), and Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms).
Bio-chemical Components Of Manjistha
This incredible herb shows the presence of bio active constituents like purpurin, munjistin, xanthopurpurin, pseudopurpurin and glycosides like rubiadin, rubiprasin A,B,C, ruiearbonls, aborane triterpenoids, mangistin, 1-hydroxy 2-methoxy anthraquinone, 3-dimethoxy 2 carboxy anthraquinone, alizarin, garancin, mollugin and furomollugin.
Enriched with these phyto-chemical components, Manjistha portrays potent hepatoprotective, anti-splenomegaly, anti-hepatomegaly, cholagogue, anti- pyretic, spleno-protective, detoxifying, febrifuge, digestive, anti-inflammatory, broncho-dilatory, pain-relieving, anti-microbial properties. And eventually these properties extensively help in treating and providing relief from jaundice, liver infections, skin conditions including pimple, eczema, psoriasis and vitiligo, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, fever, allergy, asthma, blood infections, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Formulation Containing Manjistha
This potent bright red root is extensively used for preparing various formulations aimed at detoxifying the blood, treating skin diseases, improving complexion, remedying liver diseases and many more. Be it in the form of Kalka (paste), Shrita / kwath (decoction), Swaras (juice), Shita (cold infusion), Phant (hot infusion), Churna (powder), Ghrita (ghee) or Arka (tincture), the spectacular benefits of Manjistha can be used via all. One such incredible herbal formulation containing Manjistha is Raktshodhakarishta.
The name of the formulation ‘Raktsodhakarishta’ consists of 3 words where ‘Rakta’ means ‘blood’, ‘shodhaka’ signifies ‘purification’ and ‘arishta’ denotes ‘decoction’. Hence just as the name suggests, this formulation of Manjistha confers brilliant blood detoxifying properties that not only abolishes the toxins from the blood but also readily increases the excretion of the toxic or unwanted substances from the blood through the kidneys. Additionally, it also helps in treating different types of skin conditions like acne, pimples, boils, and even conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, hyperuricemia or gout.
40 parts Sariva (Anantmool or Indian Sarsaparilla) – Hemidesmus indicus
40 parts Munakka – Vitis vinifera
20 parts Khadira (Catechu) – Acacia catechu bark
20 parts Kachnar – Bauhinia variegata bark
20 parts Chopchini – Smilax china
10 parts Manjistha (Manjith) – Rubia cordifolia
10 parts Kantakari or Chhoti Kateri (Thorny Nightshade) – Solanum surattense
10 parts Pitpapra (Shahtra) – Fumaria indica
10 parts Guduchi (Giloy or Heartleaf Moonseed) – Tinospora cordifolia
10 parts Gorakhmundi – Sphaeranthus indicus
10 parts Sharpunkha – Tephrosia purpurea
10 parts Indravaruni (Indrayana) – Citrullus colocynthis Roots
10 parts Shirish (Sirish) – Albizia lebbeck
10 parts Chirayata (Kiratatikta) – Swertia chirata
10 parts Yawasa (Javasa) – Alhagi maurorum
10 parts Devdaru (Deodar Cedar or Himalayan Cedar) – Cedrus deodara
10 parts Neem – Azadirachta indica inner bark
10 parts Unaab (Jujube Fruit, Chinese date) – Zizyphus vulgaris
10 parts Shatavari – Asparagus racemosus
10 parts Babul Bark – Acacia arabica
10 parts Bakayan (Mahanimba) – Melia azedarach inner bark
2560 parts WaterPrakshepa Dravya:
200 Parts Gur – Jaggery
100 Parts Shahad – Honey
24 Parts Dhataki Flower- Woodfordia fruticosa
12 Parts Lal Chandan (Red Sandalwood) – Pterocarpus santalinus
2 parts Pippali (Long Pepper) – Piper longum
2 parts Elachi (Green Cardamom) – Elettaria cardamomum
2 parts Dalchini (Cinnamon) – Cinnamomum zeylanicum
2 parts Tejpata (Indian Bay Leaf) – Cinnamomum tamala
2 parts Nagkesar – Mesua ferrea
Powder all the herbal components and dry them under direct sunlight.
Pour all the kwatha dravyas in a big boiler and add the measured quantity of water to it.
Reduce the water quantity to I/4 of the original volume.
Cool the mixture slightly and filter it to remove the adjuvant particles.
While the filtered mixture is still warm, add the prakshepa dravyas one by one.
Stir the concoction properly and pour it in the arishta vessel.
Seal the mouth of the vessel with a clay-smeared cloth.
After 30 days, remove the seal, and filter the liquid.
Keep the formulation in amber-coloured glass bottles for future use.
Adults: 10 – 30 ml, twice a day infused in equal quantities of water preferably after meals or as suggested by your health care provider or ayurvedic doctor.
Health Benefits Of Manjistha
The potent anti-bacterial and anti-diarrhoeal properties of Manjistha is extensively used for removing bacteria from the intestines that causes diarrhoea and other intestinal infections. When ingested in presccribed amounts, it can be used for treating a type of diarrhoea known as AMA ATISARA i.e. acute diarrhoea where the bowel is slimy, sticky, full of mucus and has a foul odour. This formulation not only removes the toxins from the body but also effectively reduces the frequency of stools and even treats dysentery..
Fights Respiratory Issues
Blessed with powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, and anti-asthmatic properties, Manjistha is considered to be a well-known traditional remedy for all sorts of respiratory troubles. It is pivotal in treating the common cold, sore throat, cough and flu symptoms. It also actively thins and loosens rheum particles within the chest and nasal cavities and hence eases breathing and helps the body to get rid of mucus. It is also beneficial for treating asthma and other bronchial conditions.
Remedies Liver Anomalies
Powered with potent hepatoprotective and hepatostimulative properties, Manjistha makes for a magical remedy for most liver anomalies especially jaundice, in which the liver gets mostly effected. The herb not only provides support to the liver functioning by secreting bile but also helps the liver enzymes to tune down to normal levels. It also cleanses and detoxifies the liver and improves liver functioning.
Aids In Weight Loss
The abundance of flavonoids and bioactive components in manjistha root helps the body shed excess weight faster. Enriched with fibre and essential nutrients, formulations containing manjistha when taken regularly, help satiate sudden hunger pangs and prevent overeating and hence can play a pivotal role in one’s weight loss regimen. The herb also reduces the accumulation of LDL (i.e. Low-Density Lipoproteins or bad cholesterol) in the body, thereby improving metabolism and facilitating the body in maintaining a proper weight.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer properties of the bright-red Manjistha root holds high significance in treating different types of ulcers like ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer, canker sores or mouth ulcers, etc. The bioactive components in the herb helps in healing mouth and gastric ulcers. It also helps to speed up the healing process and improves wound contracting ability, tissue regeneration, and wound closure so as to facilitate faster healing.
Remedies PCOD Symptoms
Manjistha is a magical remedy for all sorts of hormonal problems. It plays a quintessential role in regulating periods, treating postnatal ailments, and even helps to treat excessive abdominal pain/bleeding. Additionally, it also subdues the pain during dysmenorrhea and encourages easy flow during the menstrual cycle. For women suffering from PCOD, intake of manjistha formulations actively helps in purifying the blood and restores uterus health leading to regular, healthy periods.
Imbued with excellent carminative and digestive properties, Manjistha even helps in treating a host of digestive woes. The anti-flatulent property reduces the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, thus reducing flatulence, bloating, constipation, and abdominal distension. The antacid property of the herb prevents the formation of excessive acids in the stomach thereby treating indigestion, ulcer, gastritis and promoting better absorption of nutrients in the body.
The presence of ruberythric acid in Manjistha is extremely beneficial in treating urolithiasis or kidney stones and other kidney disorders as well. This bio-active component reduces accumulation and deposition of calcium and magnesium which ultimately leads to stones in the kidneys and ureter. Additionally, being a potent antispasmodic agent, it also allows the already formed kidney stones to easily pass through the urinary system with less pain.
Promotes Cardiac Functioning
The powerful cardio-tonic properties of Manjistha plays a quintessential role in treating a host of heart anomalies. By acting as a calcium channel blocker, it manages irregular cardiac rhythm. It prevents lipid peroxidation and accumulation in the blood vessels which in turn reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart blocks, heart attacks, blood clots, etc. It also reduces platelet aggregation, and thus facilitates smooth flowing of blood throughout the body. The potent vasodilatory action of the herb manages high blood pressure as well.
Reduces Risk Of Cancer
Although, it is not the ultimate remedy, but several researches and studies highlight the use of Manjistha powder as a beneficial component in managing benign as well as malignant cancers/tumors, especially ovarian and uterine cancers. The abundance of quinones and cyclic hexapeptides in Manjistha actively helps in combatting the cancer cells in the colon, breast, and liver; and even manage histiocytic lymphoma, myeloid leukemia, and other types of cancer.
Supports The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is chiefly responsible for transporting fluids throughout the body, providing nourishment to the various tissues and organs, and abolishing wastes and toxins from the body. Manjistha being a powerful blood-purifying herb enhances the functioning of the lymphatic system which ultimately leads to boosting the body’s immune functions and shielding the body against various infections.
Augments Skin Health
Sanctified with antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, Ayurveda acknowledges manjistha as a well-known one-step remedy for various skin conditions. Owing to its blood purifying properties which helps in removing toxins from the blood, it helps in treating a host of skin infections as well. It not only helps in shielding the skin from oxidative radical damage due to the harmful UVA and UVB rays, but also reduces the risk of the various signs of aging like wrinkles, blemishes, spots, fine lines, and dark circles. It is also beneficial for treating allergic conditions like acne, pimples, zits, psoriasis, scabies, eczema and many more. It is even useful in healing cracked heels.
Make a paste of 1 tbsp aloe vera gel, 1 tsp manjistha powder, 1 tsp neem powder, pinch of turmeric and rose water. Apply this paste all over the face and neck for a radiant, blemish-free glowing complexion.
Other Uses Of Manjistha
The bright red colour of the stem and root makes this herb ideal for colouring and dyeing materials like wool, silk, linen and cotton fabrics, and even basket-making material. The juice of the crushed manjistha fruits are often bottled and used as greenish-blue ink. Even in the present times, the ash of burnt stems and leaves are used as vegetable salt to soften vegetables for cooking gourmet delicacies in Tanzania.
Effect On Doshas
This magical blood-purifying herb showcases Madhura (i.e. sweet), Kashaya (i.e. astringent) and Tikta (i.e. bitter) Rasa. It is blessed with Rukhsha (dry) and Guru (i.e. heavy) gunas. It has Ushna Virya (hot potency) and Katu Vipaka (pungent metabolic property). The bioactive ingredients in this red root makes it a Kapha-Pitta Samapak dravya i.e., it actively balances the Pitta (fire and air) doshas and Kapha (earth and water) doshas and often an excess of it can aggravate the Vata (air) doshas.
Owing to the dry and heavy qualities, the herb helps to cut through the thick rheum matter caused due to increased kapha doshas, and it also reduces pitta and kapha doshas in the head and chest, thus helping to uphold a normal body temperature. Additionally, being a Pitta pacifier, it detoxifies the kidney, liver and blood, while simultaneously fortifying the vital organ and enhancing cellular growth and tissue regeneration. Owing to the intrinsic properties and doshas, Kutki portrays a positive effect on the various Dhatus (i.e. body tissues) which are Rasa (i.e. Plasma), Rakta (i.e. Blood), Mamsa (i.e. Muscles), Asthi (i.e. Bones) and Shukra (i.e. Reproductive Fluids).
The ayurvedic properties that help in portraying the following main prabhabs on the body are Varnya (improves skin quality and complexion), Jvara hara (fever), Dahajit (relieves burning sensation), Vishamajvara (treats chronic fever), Asrajit (coolant), Vishaghna (purifies blood and removes toxins from blood), Svarakrut (improves voice), Shotha (reduces inflammation) and Raktatisara (treats diarrhoea with bleeding).
Manjistha is widely available in the form of churnas, avalehas, kashayams and gutikas and even as dried root. Owing to its pungent-bitter taste, one can consume it alongside honey to mask the taste.
The precise therapeutic dosage of the manjistha may vary from person to person depending upon the age, severity, and condition of the patient. One must consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner, as he or she will thoroughly examine the indications and prescribe the effective dosage for a specific period of time.
Churna/ Powder - Take ¼ - ½ tsp of Manjistha Churna by mixing it in warm water and adding honey twice a day, after meals or as directed by the ayurvedic doctor or practitioner.
Gutika/ Tablet/ Capsule - Take 1-2 tab/ cap of Manjistha alongside water twice a day after meals.
Manjistha Side Effects
Imbued with potent bioactive components, this traditional herb exhibits no recorded side effects when used in the correct proportion. It is extremely effective in normalising the aggravated levels of Sama Pitta doshas and Kapha doshas in the body. That being said, an overdosage of Manjistha can change the colour of the urine and stool into orange or brown. One should also be careful while taking this herb if he or she is already taking some anti-coagulant medications as Manjistha too has anti-platelet action. Moreover, since there is no reliable information of the effects of manjistha during pregnancy or lactation period, hence it is suggested that pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers should avoid using this humble herb without medical supervision.