Manjishta (Rubia cordifolia) is one of the most powerful natural remedies that effectively cleanses the blood. With its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, manjishta keeps the lymphatic system capable of removing toxins. This, in turn, reduces arthritic pain, eases stress and keeps infections at bay. Learn more about manjishta, the incredible blood purifying herb for detox that has been used for thousands of years.
These days it seems like lots of people are suffering from various health issues that cause continual discomfort. Whether it’s that they feel tired or sluggish, have digestive issues, skin-related issues, body pain… something! And all of those symptoms remind me that it’s important to consider the lymphatic system and the blood when we want to solve some of these problems.
Enter Manjishta, one of the most powerful natural remedies in Ayurveda, the ancient natural healing system of India. Manjishta (Rubia cordifolia) is one of the go-to herbs that have a long history of enhancing blood circulation for detoxing the body – that is, for moving toxins out of your system.
Before we go further, I want to mention that manjishta is often referred to as Indian madder or madder. There are numerous varieties of madder, like so many herbs that have different varieties. Some of the varieties of madder are toxic for human consumption. So, when we talk about manjishta that has been used successfully in Ayurveda over millennia, I’m re-emphasizing that we’re talking about manjishta, a name that always refers to Rubia cordifolia, which is – not “madder.”
We need to remember to identify medicinal herbs by their Latin Botanical names, or it gets confusing. And that’s when people become afraid to use something natural – because modern medicinal practitioners don’t know a lot about herbs and can make vague, sweeping and (too often) incorrect comments… including comments about herbs like manjishta, that have been used successfully for thousands of years!
So, What is Manjishta?
Manjishta, Rubia cordifolia, is one of numerous perennial flowering creeper or climbing plants in the Rubiaceae genus. Although this is the same family that coffee comes from, manjistha, also known as Indian madder, Bengal madder, and munjeet, is primarily found in Africa, Europe and Asia. While the manjishta plant, with its heart shaped leaves and small white flowers is lovely to look at, it is prized for its deep red roots – the part that has the greatest medicinal value.
In centuries past, manjishta, along with its more common relative, madder or Rubia tinctorium, was also grown for the deep red colored pigment extracted from the roots. It was used for making paints and as a dye for fiber and clothing. Rubia tinctorium, the relative of manjishta, is most often used today as a colorant or dye.
In fact, in the Republic of Georgia, (where we are presently living) every Easter, according to local tradition, the local shops sell little packets of madder powder, which is used to dye Easter eggs a dusty reddish-maroon color. But it is definitely not manjishta, so, as inspiring as it was to see piles of those colorful red powder packets, we couldn’t take it internally for health! 🙁
Manjishta roots these days are ground into powder and used medicinally. Manjishta is found as a primary ingredient in many herbal formulas for lymphatic cleansing and blood purification.
According to Ayurveda and Unani medicine, the manjishta herb is bitter, sweet and astringent, and has the ability to spread easily throughout the body’s systems, moving out unwanted blocks and paving the way for better health.
Some Symptoms Associated With Lymphatic Congestion
- sluggishness, heaviness, lack of energy
- unexplained moodiness and melancholy, mood swings
- pain in feet and/or hands and stiffness upon wakening
- other non-specific body pain
- digestive problems, slow sluggish bowel movements
- skin problems, such as acne, dry skin, rashes, eczema, psoriasis
- water retention and difficulty in shedding weight
- PMS symptoms, such as pain and bloating, uncomfortable periods
- liver problems
- Gout or arthritis pain
- low immunity
Health Benefits Of Manjishta
1. Clears The Lymphatic System
As mentioned above, manjishta is famous for its capacity to remove stagnation and to improve circulation. Living in this modern world comes with a high level pollution; environmental, chemical, and electromagnetic toxicity that we can’t help but absorb – even if we are trying to eat well and stay rested. Manjishta can move throughout the circulatory system and help to flush out old, unwanted cellular matter that blocks blood vessels; a perfect detox herb!
Various anti-tumor compounds contained in manjishta inhibit cancer cell proliferation and have been found to reduce tumors that exist, while at the same time, are helpful in preventing abnormal cell proliferation from occurring. Manjishta has been used in Ayurveda and Unani to treat various forms of cancer, such as ovarian, uterus and lung cancers, among others.
If you are considering using manjishta for cancer, we suggest consulting an Ayurvedic physician to guide you in a successful treatment program.
3. Aids Liver Function
With its cleansing functions, manjistha provides excellent support to the liver, spleen, gall bladder and kidneys. By moving unwanted blockages away, manjishta can be helpful in dissolving gall bladder and kidney stones. Manjishta is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and can also be useful for treating hepatitis.
4. Promotes Digestive Health
Manjishta’s unique qualities allow it to penetrate deep into mucous membranes of the digestive tract, soak up toxins and move them out of the body. Manjishta balances acid in the stomach and can be used to treat chronic constipation, hemorrhoids, and parasites.
5. Promotes Beautiful Clear Skin
One of the most apparent and wonderful benefits of the cleansing actions of manjishta is resultant glowing skin. As manjishta makes its way through the lymphatic system, cleansing the blood of impurities, the skin will benefit. Not only complexion, but other bodily rashes such as eczema and psoriasis are cleared through regular use of manjishta. Manjishta powder can also be used topically as a facial scrub/mask or as a paste to heal skin irritations.
6. Diminishes Pain From Arthritis and Other Inflammatory Conditions
Manjishta’s anti-inflammatory qualities relieve pain and stiffness from joints that manifest in conditions such as osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Manjistha removes uric acid from the body, relieving painful and persistant gout.
7. Immune Boosting
Sweeping away impurities as it moves through the circulatory system, manjishta’s antioxidants scavenge free radicals, soothing oxidative stress. This leads to white blood cell protection and function, which grants us greater immunity to colds, infections, and other immune diseases. Manjishta is useful in preventing bacterial infections known as “staph infections due to Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
8. Supports Female Reproductive System
Many difficulties that females face are a result of poor lymphatic drainage and functioning. A build-up of toxins can result in PMS issues, such as tender breasts, bloating and mood swings. Manjishta, through its flushing actions, removes toxins that restrict normal functioning and relieves symptoms caused by unbalanced hormones, such as PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Taking manjishta can regularize the monthly cycle, plus relieve swollen ankles, hot flashes and painful period cramps.
9. Supports Urinary Tract Functioning
With its ability to move impurities out of the body, manjishta supports proper kidney function. Manjishta acts as a diuretic (relieving water retention and bloating) and its antimicrobial phytonutrients help to prevent urinary tract infections.
How To Use Manjishta
According to Ayurveda, there are 3 main body types or doshas, identified by your body’s constitution and tendencies for imbalance.
For those who are primarily vata constitution, that is, those whose imbalances tend to cause dryness (ex. constipation) or other imbalances associated with air or ether, it is suggested to take manjishta in combination with other herbs, such as guduchi. If that applies to you, our suggestion, is to take manjishta in tablets, such as with this immune-boosting combo ✓ that includes guduchi, plus an array of other powerful supporting herbs.
If your complaints are more in the area of urinary tract issues, then you can try this one ✓ that contains manjishta along with other urinary tract supporting herbs that aid in the flow and ease of urination, among other benefits.
If you’re not sure about your body constitution and would like to know more, you can take this short Ayurvedic dosha quiz offered by Dr. John Douillard, of LifeSpa, a well respected Ayurvedic clinic in Colorado, USA.
If you would like to take manjishta as a single herb, we suggest purchasing manjishta offered by Banyan Botanicals through Ayurvedic Herbs Direct, one of the largest online discount retailers of Ayurvedic herbal products. You can read about the company and more about the specific product by clicking or tapping this product link ✓ Tip: They offer free shipping on USA orders over $25!
If you’re also interested in trying manjishta as a tea, infusion, or tincture, or using it as an ingredient for topical skin care complexion masks or for skin infections, (for example: mixing equal parts of manjishta powder with honey and yogurt and applying to skin for 15 minutes, then rinsing off) you can try this spice bottle-sized manjishta powder ✓ also available at Ayurvedic Herbs Direct.
It might be good to start with a bottle of capsules and a small quantity of loose powder to see how manjishta works for you – manjishta powder also comes in half pound bags and one pound bags, but that’s a lot of herb to buy if it’s your first time using it. For longer term use for chronic or stubborn health issues, a larger bag would be more economical.
Manjishta is a powerful cleansing herb with a long history of success in treating circulatory and blood issues.
Please make sure that you purchase manjishta from a reputable source so you know for sure that it is actual medicinal manjishta, rather than other forms of madder that are not not to be taken internally.
As with most herbs, if you are pregnant, please consult with your primary physician before adding manjistha to your wellness routine.
If you are currently taking anticoagulants such as Coumadin or Warfarin, please consult your doctor before adding manjishta to your medical regimen as manjistha is blood thinning, and you don’t want to double up effects.
HEADS UP: Manjishta, like beets, contains betanin, a natural betacyanin pigment that causes their vibrant red color. About 14% of the population find that after consuming beets or taking manjishta internally, their urine becomes brownish or reddish colored.
This hereditary pre-disposition is nothing to be alarmed over, lovies… although it is surprising if you’re not expecting it; it was for me! It will continue while you are taking manjishta. This does not mean that the herb is not doing its work to heal your body, so if you are one of these people, don’t worry about it!
Also, like other brightly colored herbs, such as turmeric, topical use of manjishta could temporarily stain clothing.
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