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. Pharmacological Effect The roots afforded the cyclic hexapeptides, RA I-XVI. The compounds and their derivatives exhibited significant activity against leukemias and ascites tumors, P-388, LI-210, B-16 melanoma and solid tumors, colon 38, Lewis lung carcinoma and Ehrlich caricinoma. Oleanic aldehyde aceate, dihydromollugin, rubimallin show antibacterial activity. Herbinol showed bactericidal and bacterio- static activities. The purpurin derivative obtained from root extract is used as deodorant. The methanol extract of roots yielded the components TPC-A abd TPC-B, of which the former when administered to tumor cell P-388 bearing mice, prolonged the life span by 187.4 per cent. The alcoholic extract of the roots inhibit passive cutaneous anaphylaxis in the mouse and rat. Others The Indian madder has long been employed in the country for dyeing coarse cotton fabrics, blankets and carpets. The colour obtained from R. cordifolia, though brighter, is more fleeting than that from R. tinctorum, and the colouring power of R. cordifolia is less than that of the latter. The method of dyeing is much the same all over India; the cloth is steeped in an infusion of the stem or root and mordanted with alum. In Tanzania, the roots and fruits are used as a red dyestuff and are also employed for staining floor boards. The climber is much esteemed as lalab, a side dish with rice, by the Javanese, and is sometimes used as fodder.