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Manjishta – Rubia cordifolia Benefits, usage, Dose, Side Effects, Remedies

Manjishta is a famous herb for blood detoxification. Is root is extensively used in many skin disease medicines of Ayurveda. It is known as Indian Madder in English. It is used in many oral Ayurveda medicines and in Ayurveda oils for skin conditions as well.
Botanical name – Rubia cordifolia Linn.
Family – Rubiaceae (Manjishta kula)

Manjishta - Rubia cordifolia

Medicinal qualities

Guna (qualities) – Guru (Heavy to digest), Rooksha (dry)
Rasa – Tikta (bitter), Kashaya (astringent), Madhura (sweet)
Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) – Katu (pungent)
Veerya (potency) – Ushna (hot)
Effect on Tridosha – Kaphapittashamaka – Balances Kapha and Pitta
It is mainly Pittahara.
Because it mitigates Pitta, it is useful in diseases of the tissues where Pitta is involved, such as skin (wounds, skin diseases) and eyes.

By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD


Indian madder or Manjeeth is used in textile industry as a natural red coloring agent. It is used in processing arecanut, so as to increase the astringent taste of the supari-betel nut and to increase the shelf life.  

It is an Ayurvedic medicine, used extensively in the treatment of skin disorders such as eczema and dermatitis. Rubia cordifolia Linn is its botanical name and it belongs to Rubiaceae family. The plant is categorized under the group of Varnya- which enhances the skin complexion, as per Acharya Charaka.

This plant is known for its blood purifying nature, complexion enhancing effect, healing properties and to stimulate the liver and spleen. In Chinese medicine also it is used as an anti toxic herb.

The stem and roots are the used part. In practice whole plant is used now a days.
It balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha. It possesses bitter and astringent tastes.
It is hot in potency.

The plant contains yellow gencoside, mangistin, garancin, algerin, zenthgin, salt contents and rich amount of starch.
Read related: Manjishta – Rubia cordifolia – benefits, usage, Dose, Side Effects

Manjishthadi kashaya, Mahamanjisthadi kashaya, Manjisthadi taila, Pinda taila, Manjishthadya ghrita, Manjishthadi arka are the well known classical recipes of this herb.

Home remedies

Few important simple remedies and their health benefits are listed below:

Pimples, dark spots

1. Manjishtha fine paste for pimples and dark spots:
Manjista stem or roots fine powder is rubbed well with water and applied over the skin lesions of pimples and dark spots. It is a natural complexion enhancer. (Fresh roots can be used for this purpose)

Chronic ulcers

2. Manjistha decoction in washing the chronic ulcers:
Manistha decoction is made and used to wash the wounds in case of chronic wounds, non healing ulcers etc. In bite wounds, this is used by the folk healers.

General method of decoction preparation is –
1 tablespoon (10 grams) fo coarse powder of the herb is added with 2 cups of water. Boiled in open air till the total content is reduced to 1 cup. This is filtered and used.

Blisters, boils

3. Manjishta cold infusion in blisters and summer boils:
20-30 gram of coarse powder  is soaked in 200-300 ml of water and kept over night. This is macerated well and taken early morning. In burning of the body (summer season and in menopausal period), blisters and boils this is very effective.

Skin diseases

4. Manjishtha and Sariva (Hemidesmus indicus) dcecoction in skin diseases:
Both these herbs are well known blood purifiers. Their combination if made into decoction and taken it cures several skin diseases very effectively.


5. Manjistha herbal ghee and oil for burns:
Manjista, Teak wood tender leaves and red sandal wood are taken in equal quantity and ghee or oil is processed as per the classical method of cooking the oil/ghee. This oil or ghee is used to apply over the burns and scalds. It pacifies burning, pain and reduces the chances of boils and there after caused skin discoloration.

Classical ayurvedic literatures refer few of the health benefits of a herb by virtue of its Rasa-Guna-Veerya-Vipaka-Prabhava etc. Advancements in the techniques and technology, various forms of therapeutic applications, modified dosage forms, synthesizing the chemical molecules from the herbal resources may yield further more usable chemical constituents.

Manjishtha is an herb which I personally believe that confident products can be derived and the chemical salts of this herb can be used in treatment of diseases of circulatory system and metabolism related disorders.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD

Manjishta - Rubia cordifolia

Svarakrut – improves voice
Varnakrut – improves skin complexion
Useful in the treatment of
Visha –toxic conditions, poisoning
Shotha – inflammatory conditions
Yoniruk – gynecological disorders
Karnaruk – ear pain
Akshiruk – eye pain
Raktatisara – diarrhea with bleeding
Kushta – skin diseases
Asra – blood vitiation
Visarpa – Herpes, spreading skin disease
Vrana – injuries
Meha – diabetes and urinary tract disorders
Netramaya – eye disorders

Part used, dose

Part used: Root
Powder – 1 – 3 grams
Kashaya – 20 – 50 ml in divided doses or as directed by Ayurveda doctor

Home remedy

Home remedy with Rubia cordifolia –
Herbal face pack

Ayurveda medicines

Ayurveda medicines with Manjishta:
Maha Manjishtadi Kashaya – used for skin diseases and for blood purification.
Kumkumadi oil– Famous oil for skin glow and quality improvement
Maharaja Prasarini Tailam – A peculiar oil used in neurological conditions, administered orally and also externally (massage).
Panchatikta Guggulu Ghrita – A ghee used in abscess, sinus treatment etc

Side effects

Indian madder side effects:
There are no known side effects. It can be used in children and lactating mothers in small quantities. Seek medical guidance for its use during pregnancy.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Vernacular names, Sanskrit synonyms

Bengali name – Manjishta
Gujarati, Hindi name – Manjeeth
Tamil name – Manjitti
Telugu name – Tamravalli
Kannada name – Raktamanjishte
Malayalam name – Manjetti
Arabian name – Phuvva
Farsi name – Runas

Sanskrit synonyms:
Vikasa – manjishta spreads on the ground
Yojanavalli- Plant is a climber that spreads on the ground
Jingi – covers larger area
Samanga – Spreads extensively on the ground
rasayani – Used as a rejuvinating agent
Bhandiri, Raktanga, Vastrabhushana, Kalameshi, Lata
Vastraranjini – it imparts red colour to cloth


Ra. Ni – Cola, Yojani, Crounci, Simhali

Market sample – Nepali, Afgani, Eshani, Hindusthani

Classical categorization

Charaka Samhita –
Jvarahara – herbs that relieve fever
Varnya – herbs that are good for skin, improves complexion
Vishaghna – anti toxic, anti poisonous herbs
Sushruta – Priyangvadi and Pittasamshamana (Pitta calming) group of herbs
Vagbhata – Priyangvadi group of herbs


It is found in hilly areas of India. It is also cultivated in many places.


Perennial, herbaceous climber, roots are very long, cylindric with a thin red bark
Stem – Often many yard long, rough, grooved, slightly woody at the base. Bark is white, quadrangular, sometimes prickly on the angles, glabrous shining.
Leaves – 4 leaves in one whorl, usually 2 leaves in whorl are larger than other two leaves.5 nerved, petioles are triangular with prickles on the edges and exstipulate.
Fruits – Globose

Sthanika karma (Action on different system)

External application – Cures edema and burning sensation. Indicated in conjunctivitis.

Digestive system – Carminative, digestive, and improve taste. Indicated in anorexia, loss of appetite, Malabsorption syndrome, Dysentery etc.

Circulatory System – Indicated in edema, rheumatic joint diseases, Syphilis, STD’s, Elephantiasis etc.
Respiratory system – Pacifies kapha dosha. indicated in cough, breathing disorders
Reproductive system – Aphrodisiac, Indicated in Leukorrhea, Threatened abortion, Purifies breast milk

Excretory system – increases urine output. Indicated in Dysuria and Pittaja prameha

Satmikarana –Anti poisonous, Rejuvinative
Skin – Indicated in skin disorders like kushta, visarpa etc.
 Tapakrama – Antipyretic. relieve the burning sensation.

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