Manjishta  photo

Rubia cordifolia – Radix (Rubiaceae)

Common name: Indian madder, Manjith

Sanskrit: Manjishta

Manjishta is a perennial climber and like a vine it ‘spreads’ throughout the whole system, especially working on the arterial, circulatory system and skin. Its red roots point to its affinity for the blood and the red pigment can be seen in the urine.

Botanical Description

Manjistha is a perennial climber, native to India, which can be found growing most predominantly in the lower regions of the Himalayas and the Western Ghats in Southern India. It can also be found growing in Japan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka in moist, tropical forests up to altitudes of 3500metres. The plant itself is prickly and will often grow over other plants. The roots have a characteristically red colouring and the leaves are an ovate shape with distinctive veins running along their length. The flowers are small and a white-green colouring. The manjistha fruits are globular and a deep purple-black.

How it Works

Manjistha acts primarily as a blood cleanser and purifier. It contains a class of constituents known as quinones; the quinone rubiadin demonstrates antioxidant activity that protects against damaging free radicals. Manjistha has also demonstrated the ability to increase the number of inflammatory mediators, reducing heat and congestion within the blood flow, impacting upon a wide range of chronic inflammatory disorders. 

Into the Heart of Manjishta

The medicinal activity of manjistha is concentrated within the heart and the circulatory system where it will cool, cleanse and purify the blood flow. It is this action that has indicated the use of manjistha in all blood based disorders and deficiencies. Manjistha will clear any congested heat and toxicity from the blood, relieving characteristically irritated, itching and inflamed skin conditions. The profound effect of manjistha on the blood supply also indicates it in menstrual disorders and chronic inflammatory conditions. Manjistha will also effectively break down accumulations that may be obstructing the blood flow, such as tumours and lumps. The cooling nature of manjistha on the blood has made it effective in reducing irritation and agitation of the nervous system on both an emotional and physical level.


Skin: Manjistha’s affinity for cleaning, cooling and clearing the blood of all excess heat, inflammation and toxicity, indicates it in itching, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, vitiligo, acne, acne rosacea and herpes. It is excellent for relieving pruritus influenced by liver heat and aggravation. It is also indicated in scabies and Tinea pedis.

Bleeding: Manjishta clears congested blood and stops bleeding by cooling the ‘heat’ that causes bleeding. It is therefore indicated in Crohn’s disease, dysentery, bleeding ulcers. It acts as a vulnerary and hastens the healing time of skin trauma.

Gynaecology: It is indicated where there are signs of a congested uterus, dysmenorrhoea fixed pain, clots, amenorrhoea and endometriosis. Manjistha is excellent for all menstrual imbalances.

Tumours/Accumulations: Manjishta breaks accumulations that may be obstructing the blood flow, particularly those found in the bladder, liver and kidneys.

Urinary & Kidney: Manjistha is specific for gradually dissolving kidney and bladder stones. Anthraquinones act as chelating agents helping to draw excess calcium from the system.

Mind: Manjistha is naturally cooling and has a balancing effect on the emotions, indicating it in cases of epilepsy and agitation.

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