Madder Roots Rubia Tinctorum Description
Rubiatinctorum (Rubiaceae) is herbaceous perennial plant and commonly known as madder root. It is distributed throughout the Asia, America, Africa and Mediterranean region. It has thick red coloured roots that are over a meter long which produces several reddish green climbing stem. The whorls of leaves at the joints have spines along the midrib on the underside of leaves. It is generally characterized by small yellow flowers that grow in clusters and red to black inedible berries.Itsroots are known as a source of dye.There are two other species of Rubia i.e. the Indian madder (Rubiacordifolia) and the wild madder (Rubiaperegrina) which are cultivated for their ground up roots which are used as a red dye. Rubiatinctorumis used as a fodder for animals and some insect species feeds on its leaves.
Madder Roots Rubia tinctorum Harvesting Time
The roots of Madder plant are harvested in autumnwhich are at least 3 years old. They are peeled and dried for use. A good quality dye is obtained from Rubia roots which is used to dye clothes in different shades of pink, purple and red.
Madder Roots Rubia tinctorum History
This property of cloth coloring have been known from ancient times and found on ancient Egyptian mummies and on cloaks of Libyan women from 5th century BC. They imparts red colour to the bones of young animals which is used in osteopathic investigation.
Medicinal uses of Rubiatinctorum Roots
Madder roothas medicinal properties and used in the treatment of amenorrhea (failure of menstrual bleeding), jaundice and dropsy.It is used as astringent, aperient, diuretic and cholagogue. According to Hippocrates, it is used as an expectorant and as a remedy against gynecological diseases. It is taken internally in the treatment of kidney stones and bladder stones. It also reports to induces antispasmodic effect on ureters which makes the fragments of stone to pass out easily.It is believed that this plant may inhibit the formation of stones in kidney and bladder because of ruberythric acid found in plant. It is also used as tonic and analgesic purposes in Chinese’s traditional medicine. It has traditional importance as a remedy for constipation and sciatica. In homeopathic medicine, a tincture is made from fresh roots which is used for spleen disorders, delayed menses and other ailments.
Active Ingredients of Rubia tinctorum Roots
The roots have active ingredient such as Anthraquinone glycosides including, rubeythric acid, alizarin, lucidin, xanthopurpurin, purpurin, pseudopurpurin and rubiadinwhich are used as laxatives. They also contain organic acids, calcium (Ca), tannins, pectin and sugars. The medicinal property of this plant is due to the glycosides.
Side Effects of Rubia tinctorum Roots
The roots contained lucidin substance in them which is reported to be mutagenic and carcinogenic in animals. This substance can be toxic to humans as well if it occurs in whole plant preparations. Therefore, Rubiatinctorum is not mostly used in herbal medicine preparations and commercial products.