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Rubia cordifolia L.

Botanical Name: Rubia cordifolia L.

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Gentianales

Family: Rubiaceae

Genus: Rubia

Local Name: Mjeth

Sindhi Name: Lalri

English Name: Common Madder

Parts Used: Roots and stem


Rubia cordifolia L. has ability to grow up to 1.5 m in height. Leaves are evergreen, long, broad, and star-like produced in whorls of 4-7 around the central stem. Flowers are small with five pale yellow petals in dense racemes. Fruits are small red to black berries1.



  1. cordifolia is distributed in Greece, North Africa, Siberia, Manchuria, China, Japan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Sikkam, Nepal, and Tibet. In Pakistan, it is commonly found in Waziristan, Murram, Peshawar, Dir, Chitral, Swat, Gilgit, Muree Hills, Poonch, and Abbottabad.



  1. cordifolia contains free alizarin, purpurin, xanthopurpurin, munjistin, ruberythric acid, rubicoumaric acid, rubifolic acid, 3-prenyl-5(or8)-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone, 1-hydroxy-2-methoxyanthraquinone, 1,4-dihydroxy-2-carboethoxyanthraquinone, 1- hydroxy-2-carboxy-3-methoxyanthraquinone1,-hydroxy-2-methyl-6 or 7-anthraquinone, oleanolic acid acetate, p-sitosterol, scopoletol, fatty acids with saturated or unsaturated long chains, anthraquinones, naphthohydroquinones, naphthohydroquinone dimers, mollugin, furomollugin, and dehydro-α-lapchone alizarin etc2.


Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific Studies:

Root infusion of R. cordifolia is employed after delivery for procuring copious flow of lochia. Root paste mixed with honey is applied externally on freckles, discoloration of skin, ulcers, and skin diseases, such as, pityriasis and vesicular3. Stem is used against cobra-bite and scorpion sting4.

Root extract possess hepatoprotective activity2. R. cordifolia is reported to have anti-inflammatory2, antitumor8, anticholinergic10, antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiplatelet activating activities11.


  3. Dhiman, A. K. (2006). Ayurvedic Drug Plants, 253. Daya Publishing House, Delhi, India.
  4. Joshi, S. G. (2003). Medicinal Plants, p. 340, Oxford and IBH Publishers, New Delhi, India.
  5. Koichi, T., Tetsuo, Y., Hiroshi, M., and Hideji, I. (1993). Phytochemistry, 33(3), p. 613-15. Dep. Pharmacogn., Tokyo Coll. Pharm., Hachioji, Japan.
  6. Rupali, P., Rajendra, G., Hanmant, G., and Sanjay, K. (2011). Pharmacologyonline, 2, p. 272-278, Department of Pharmacology, MGV’s Pharmacy College, Nashik, India.
  7. Meena, A. K., Pal, B., Panda, P., Sannd, R., and Rao, M. M. (2010). A Review on Rubia Cordifolia: Its Phyto Constituents and Therapeutic Uses. Drug Invention Today, 2(5), p. 244-246.