Manjistha (scientific name Rubia cordifolia) is one of the most valued Ayurvedic herbs for purifying the blood and removing toxins from the body. It is also one of Ayurveda’s most powerful skin-healing herbs. Its other names include Aromatic madder or Indian madder.
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.
Manjistha is a type of flowering plant from the coffee family Rubiaceae, a creeper that grows up to 10 m. 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.
It has shiny, heart-shaped deep green leaves and robust red roots and a bark which is also red in colour. The flowers are very small, greenish white and grow in a cluster. Because of their red hue, its stems and roots are used to dye cloths and other articles.
The stem is the most commonly used part of the entire plant. It initially has a unique but bitter taste, followed by a spicy aftertaste.
Manjistha is predominantly linked to blood purification and facilitating smooth functioning of the lymphatic system which is the seat of immunity. That is the reason this herb and many others with red roots like beet, are known as Lymph-movers.
Manjistha supports liver and kidney functions and soothes Pitta dosha. It is also a diuretic and is excellent for skin brightening and treating skin disorders. Manjistha contains a compound called Alizarin which has antibacterial properties. So this herb helps combat dry skin, rashes, itchiness and inflammation and lightens scars and marks, making it an excellent ingredient in face packs.
Applying Manjistha powder along with honey or rose water (at least 2-3 times a week) helps manage acne and pimples by inhibiting the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
It helps maintain good digestion and alleviates arthritis. It is a potent immunity booster as well. As per Ayurveda, taking Manjistha powder after lunch and dinner helps manage diarrhea due to its Deepan (appetiser) and Pachan (digestive) properties.
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Manjistha is also an effective remedy to improve hair health and manage hair problems like greying of hair. This can be used as a natural hair dye for colouring as well as conditioning your hair. Manjistha oil is also effective in controlling hair fall and its antimicrobial properties help the scalp to fight dandruff.
Because of its astringent property, Manjistha can be a bit drying.
Benefits of Manjistha:
Lightens scars and marks
Liver and Kidney functions
Natural hair dye and dandruff remover