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Rubia cordifolia, often known as Common Madder or Indian Madder, is a species of flowering plant in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. It has been cultivated for a red pigment derived from roots. It can grow to 1.5 m in height. The evergreen leaves are 5–10 cm long and 2–3 cm broad. It climbs with tiny hooks at the leaves and stems. The flowers are small, with five pale yellow petals, in dense racemes. The roots can be over 1 m long, up to 12 mm thick.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Rubia cordifolia
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Manjistha Marathi : Manjistha Kannada : Manjistha Bengali : Manjistha Hindi : Majith Gujarati : Majith Telugu : Tamaralli Tamil : Manditti
Chemical Constituents
Phytochemical studies of Rubia cordifolia showed positive for alkaloids, cardiac glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, phenols, anthraquinones and very trace for steroids. The ruberythric acid is one of the major constituents of the Rubia cordifolia root as well as various chemical constituents like anthraquinones, iridoid glycoside, bicyclic hexapeptides, and triterpenes have been isolated and identified from the plant (1). Anthraquinone, anthraquinone glycoside, naphthoquinone, naphthoquinone glycoside, furomollugin, mollugin, alizarin, lucidin pimeveroside, ruberythric acid, purpurin, xanthopurpurin, cyclohexapeptide, alkaloid and lignan have been also reported from Rubia species. Four naphthohydroquinones and their glycosides, and 11 anthraquinones and their glycosides were isolated from the dried roots of Rubia cordifolia. Six of them, dihydromollugin, 2-carbomethoxy-3-(3′- hydroxy)isopentyl-1,4-naphthohydroquinone 4-O-β-glucoside, 2-methyl-1,3,6-trihydroxy-9,10-anthraquinone 3-O-β-glucoside, 2-methyl-1,3,6-trihydroxy-9,10-anthraquinone 3-O-(3′-O-acetyl)-α-rhamnosyl (1→2)-β-glucoside, 2-methyl- 1,3,6-trihydroxy-9,10-anthraquinone 3-O-(3′,6′-O-diacetyl)-α-rhamnosyl(1→2)-β-glucoside and 2-methyl-1,3,6-tri- hydroxy-9,10-anthraquinone 3-O-(4′,6′-O-diacetyl)-α-rhamnosyl(1→2)-β-glucoside, were isolated for the first time from a natural source. The structures were established by various chemical and spectroscopic methods.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Rubia cordifolia (Rubiaceae) also kown as ‘manjistha’ is an important medicinal plant, which is used for treatment of various ailments such as anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, urinary disorders, antistress, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, radioprotactive and anticancer (3). The roots of Rubia cordifolia are sweet, bitter, and acrid. The Ruberythric acid is one of the major constituents of the root and is widely used as phyto therapeutic drug in the treatment of calcium containing stones in the urinary tract. Rubia cordifolia plant is known to contain substantial amounts of anthraquinones, especially in the roots. The traditional therapeutic use of the plant has been for skin disorders and for anticancer activity. Furthermore, the anthraquinones of the Rubiaceae family exhibit some interesting in vivo biological activities, such as antimicrobial, antifungal, hypotensive, analgesic, and antioxidant, antileukemic and mutagenic functions. The hepato protective effects of rubiadin, a major constituent isolated from Rubia cordifolia were evaluated against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatic damage in rats. The results of the study strongly indicate that rubiadin has a potent hepato protective action against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic damage in rats (4). Rubia cordifolia roots possess anticancer activity. The methylene chloride fraction from the roots of Rubia cordifolia showed strong cytotoxicity against HT-29 and MCF-7 cell lines, as well as DNA topoisomerase I and II inhibitory activities. Leaves of Rubia cordifolia also have effective medicinal activities. Methanolic extracts of Rubia cordifolia leaves was very good antibacterial and antiviral activity. Minimum inhibitory concentration of different virus using HEL cell cultures, HeLa cell cultures and Vero cell cultures of Herpes simplex - 1 and 2, vaccinia virus, vesicular stomatitis and Herpes simplex-1 (TK ACVI) were observed very good antiviral activity of Rubia cordifolia leaves extracts were found out.
Health Benefits
Rubia cordifolia is an important component of the ayurvedic system of medicine. It has a variety of uses such as blood purifier, immunomodulant, anti-inflammatory and anti-PAF. Rubia cordifolia is an important medicinal plant which is used for treatment of various ailments in Ayurvedic system of medicine. It has a variety of uses. It is helpful in treating skin diseases, in blood purification, increasing appetite and in stimulation and contraction of uterus. Rubia cordifolia is popular all over the world for its medicinal uses in skin diseases like eczema, dermatitis, skin ulcers, etc (6). In India, it is used traditionally for various types of skin diseases. R. cordifolia is used for the treatment of skin itches and as an antiseptic for wounds. It has been used in folk medicine for the treatment of cancers, ulcers, swellings, and eczema. Rubia cordifolia also possesses wound healing activity. Rubia cordifolia also possesses gastroprotective activity in case of gastric ulcers. Methanolic extract of R. Cordifolia was found to produce a decrease in ulcer index.
Application in Cosmetics
India has a rich tradition of plant based knowledge on healthcare. A large number of plants are used by folklore traditions in India for treatment of cuts, wounds and burns. Rubia cordifolia is popular all over the world for its medicinal uses in skin diseases like eczema, dermatitis, skin ulcers, etc. R. cordifolia is used for the treatment of skin itches and as an antiseptic for wounds. It has been used in folk medicine for the treatment of ulcers, swellings, and eczema. In traditional systems there was only claim for the wound healing activity of this plant. However now it has been prove by scientific research that it possesses wound healing activity on excision wound model (8). Rubia cordifolia plant is an effective potential source of natural antioxidants. Free radicals are very harmful for skin health Rubia cordifolia acts as free radical scavenger. It scavenges fre radicals produced by the body and protects the skin from its ill effects. Rubia cordifolia is used as a blood purifier and in treating various skin diseases.
Research References
1. Jong K. S., Soon J. J., Ji H. J., Zhe F., Chong S. L., Chang S. S., Dong C. M., Byung S. M., Mi R. K. and Mi H. W. Anticancer Constituents from the Roots of Rubia cordifolia L. Chem. Pharm. Bull. 2008 56(2) 213—216 2. Hideji I. o., Yafang Q. and Koichi T. Anthraquinones and naphthohydroquinones from Rubia cordifolia Phytochemistry 1989, 28(12): 3465-3468 3. Sarju N. P. and Kokila A. P. Anti-viral and in-vitro free radical scavenging activity of leaves of Rubia cordifolia International Journal of Phytomedicine 2011 3:98-107 4. Guntupalli M. M. R., Chandana V. R., Palpu P. and Annie S. Hepatoprotective effects of rubiadin, a major constituent of Rubia cordifolia Linn. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2006, 103(3):484-490 5. Koichi T., Tetsuo Y., Hiroshi M. and Hideji Itokawa Two antitumour bicyclic hexapeptides from Rubia cordifolia Phytochemistry 1993, 33(3): 613-615 6. Kannan M., Ranjit S. and Narayanan M. Phytochemistry and Ethanopharmacological Studies on Rubia cordifolia Linn. (Rubiaceae) Ethnobotanical Leaflets 2009 13: 338-342. 7. R. S. Deoda, Dinesh K. and S. S. Bhujbal Gastroprotective Effect of Rubia cordifolia Linn. On Aspirin Plus Pylorus-Ligated Ulcer Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2011, Article ID 541624, 1-5 8. Karodi R., Jadhav M., Rub R. and Bafna A. Evaluation of the wound healing activity of a crude extract of Rubia cordifolia L. (Indian madder) in mice International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products 2009 2(2):12-18 9. Yamini B. T., Pratibha T. and Behram H. A. NUTRACEUTICALS AND CANCER MANAGEMENT Frontiers in Bioscience 2005 10:1607-1618 10. Tripathi Y. B., Sharma M. and Manickam M. Rubiadin, a new antioxidant from Rubia cordifolia. Indian 1997 34(3):302-306. 11. Pandey S., Sharma M., Chaturvedi P. and Tripathi Y. B. Protective effect of Rubia cordifolia on lipid peroxide formation in isolated rat liver homogenate. Indian J Exp Biol. 1994 32(3):180-183