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    Rubia cordifolia Linn. has medicinal properties
    By Ashwani Kumar | December 5th 2009 06:42 PM | 1 comment | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Ashwani

    Professor Emeritus ,Former Head of the Department of Botany, and Director Life Sciences, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. 302004, India At present...

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    Scientific Name Rubia cordifolia Linn. Family Rubiaceae Used Part Root. Distribution Area A, prickly creeper or climber, common throughout India , ascending to an altitude of 3,750 m. Common Uses . The Indian madder of commerce consists of short rootstocks with numerous cylindrical, smooth and straight roots, about the size of a quill. These are covered with a thin, brownish cork, which peels off in flakes, exposing a red-brown bark marked by longitudinal furrows. The root is sweetish, followed by acrid and hitter taste. The plant is a constituent of many ayurvedic drugs like, septilin, rumalaya and herbinol. Roots are credited with tonic, astringent, antidysenteric, antiseptic, and deobstruent properties. They are used in rheumatism and form an ingredient of several Ayurvedic preparations. Roots are said to be active against taphylococcus aureus and are made into a paste for application into ulcers, inflammations and skin troubles. It is reported that after oral administration of the root decoction, the urine and bones of the patient show a red tinge. Roots are used also for colouring medicinal oils. A decoction of leaves and stems is used as a vermifuge. Extract of R. cordifolia enters into the drug, Septilin, which is employed in the treatment of rhinosinal infections. Similar crude drugs Majitho(Indian Madder) from Rubia majith Roxb. ex Fleming. A variety, R. cordifolia var. khasiana Watt, commonly found throughout Assam and Manipur and extending westward to Nepal is reported to be far richer in the dye than either R. cordifolia or R. sikkimensis.


    A puzzle here.  The Wikipedia article on Rubia cordifolia shows a picture labelled Rubia tinctorum (below), which makes me wonder how closely related the plants are :

    The double fruit structure is very similar to the very clingy ones of Galium aparine or Goosegrass (shown below), but the latter get onto clothes, pet animals, anything.  That is why it has so many common names.  They have even been called "badger lice" because the badger is a fastidiously clean animal and keeps itself clear of parasites, so perhaps this a compliment to the animal (information from "The Badger" (Penguin Books) by Ernest Neal.)

    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England