Your skin is a mirror image of whatever your body goes through at various levels, physical, mental and emotional. In this article, we’ll cover the Ayurvedic herb manjistha for skin health, manjistha benefits, manjistha dosage, and manjistha uses.
Manjistha is known as a blood purifier and lymph mover. As such, manjistha uses and benefits are numerous. Don’t forget to look over manjistha benefits, manjistha dosage, manjistha side effects, and manjistha contraindications.
Here’s a quick overview of what we will cover in this article.
- Manjistha History
- Manjistha For Skin
- Manjistha Benefits
- Manjistha Uses
- Manjistha Properties
- Manjistha Dosages + Manjistha Side Effects
- Manjistha Contraindications: Safety + Drug Interaction
- Scientific Research On Manjistha
Manjistha dates back to the Vedic period as described in the Atreya Aranyaka. It has been used as a coloring agent since time immemorial to dye clothes. However ancient Ayurvedic texts emphasized its role in healthcare.
Manjistha is an Ayurvedic herb that is mentioned in the Brihat Trayis, the three major texts on Ayurveda. The Brihat trayis includes the Charak Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya by Ayurvedic scholar Vagbhata.
Charaka categorized it as varnya (one that improves complexion), jvarahara (relieves fever) and vishaghna (removes toxins).1
Ayurvedic scholar Sushruta mentioned it with the Priyanguadi group of herbs and said it to be pittasamsamana, that which pacifies Pitta dosha.2 Vagbhata also mentioned it with the priyanguadi group of herbs.
All the ancient texts delineated it as an herb useful to improve the color and complexion of the skin. It is well known as a rakta shodhak (blood purifier).3 Manjistha is known to be a prolific lymph and blood purifier in Ayurveda.
Read on for manjistha‘s benefits for the skin.
Manjistha Benefits For Skin
The blood purifying property of manjistha can be attributed to its ability to calm the Pitta dosha.
An imbalanced Pitta dosha vitiates the blood and impairs its normal functioning. Just like the rakta dhatu (blood), the Pitta dosha is also instrumental in determining skin features such as color, texture, and temperature.
When Pitta dosha becomes aggravated, the excess heat built up inside the body may manifest itself by making your skin reddish, irritable and prone to eruptions.
Manjistha, with its sweet, bitter and astringent taste, is an effective Pitta pacifier and supports healthy, younger-looking, clean and clear skin.
Manjistha is known to prove effective in dealing with imbalanced Kapha dosha. Accumulation of Kapha dosha can lead to lethargy, sluggishness, sticky bowel movements, fogginess and more.
The bitter taste of manjistha helps get rid of the natural impurities from the body resulting in a bright and clear complexion.
The bitter, astringent nature of manjistha benefits the Kapha dosha by bringing it to equilibrium and by doing so, prevents or eliminates Kapha stagnation which can also manifest as lymph stagnation.
Manjistha is thus considered a mover of lymph by many Ayurvedic practitioners. Manjistha is a perennial creeper and just like a creeper spreads, it has the ability to move throughout the circulatory system and skin.
Its vast spreading nature makes it a fantastic cleanser for stubborn and lingering impurities or wastes in the plasma, blood, lymph, and the skin.
According to Ayurveda, the lymph (rasa) and blood (rakta) are the first tissues to become congested when the body is not detoxing properly.
The bitter taste of manjistha helps get rid of the natural impurities from the body resulting in a bright and clear complexion.3 It supports the proper functioning of the liver and kidneys.6
Let’s see some more manjistha benefits and uses in Ayurveda.
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Manjistha Benefits And Uses
Manjistha can be used both internally and externally. The commonly used part of manjistha is its roots. It can be used whole to make teas or tinctures or it can be used in powdered form, or in capsule form as a supplement.
Manjistha can be used externally to soothe the skin. Manjistha root powder is used in many Ayurvedic formulations, like classical oils to get even-toned, lively skin with a glowing complexion.
Let’s have a look at the various ways manjistha can be used.
Manjistha Uses: Topical Uses Of Manjistha
Traditionally manjistha powder mixed with honey4 can be applied as a face pack for 10-15 minutes and then washed off with lukewarm water. This promotes clear, glowing skin.
Be sure to test a small area of the skin with a patch test first to see how your skin will react. Do not apply if you feel any redness or itchiness on the test area.
A decoction of manjistha can be used to wash wounds as it quickens healing. Chronic, non-healing and oozing ulcers particularly heal efficiently with manjistha.4
Manjistha Uses: Oral Uses Of Manjistha
Manjistha is an important ingredient of many Ayurvedic formulations and preparations; manjistha powder, mahamanjisthadi kvatha (decoction), manjistha arka (tincture) and manjistha phanta (hot infusion) or manjistha tea.
Ayurvedic herbs are traditionally used for therapeutic purposes.
The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India states the following indications for use of manjistha: yoni roga (gynaecological disorders), kustha (skin diseases), visarpa (herpes), aksi roga (eye disease), arsha (hemorrhoids), bhagna (fracture), prameha (urinary tract disorder) and vyang (discolorations and blemishes).5
Similarly, another revered master of Ayurveda, Acharya Sushruta in his work Sushruta Samhita mentions it under the priyanguadi group of herbs. Herbs in this group help in wound healing and the union of fractured bones.2
Manjistha Benefits And Properties
The Ayurvedic Materia Medica attributes the following properties to Manjishta.6
Action On Doshas: Kapha Pitta pacifier
External Action: Anti-inflammatory (sothahara), wound healing (vrana ropan), relieves skin diseases (kusthaghna)
Internal Actions: It has a calming effect on the brain and nerves. If taken in large doses it may lead to delusion.
Digestive System: manjistha kindles the digestive fire (deepan), aids in digestion (pachan), is retentive (stambhan), is deworming (krimighna).
Circulatory System: Blood purifier
Respiratory System: Mitigates Kapha (kaphaghna)
Reproductive System: It increases uterine contractions and induces menstrual flow, detoxes breast milk (stanya shodhan)
Urinary System: Useful in urinary tract disorders (pramehghna)
Skin: Skin diseases
Manjistha is also a febrifuge (antipyretic), complexion enhancer, rejuvenating and anti-toxic.6
Manjistha Dosage + Manjistha Side Effects
Take only as prescribed by your Ayurvedic practitioner or health care professional. If prescribed, this supplement should be taken twice a day, in the morning and evening, with water.
Manjistha powder: 1-3 grams
Manjistha decoction: 20-50 ml in divided dosage or advised by your Ayurvedic practitioner
Manjistha capsule: 1-2 capsules twice daily
Despite the myriad uses and benefits, manjistha has its side effects as well. It should not be taken during pregnancy and lactation. Consuming it can change the color of urine and stool.
Manjistha Contraindications: Safety + Drug Interaction
- It is to be used cautiously with anticoagulants like Warfarin and Coumadin as manjistha has antiplatelet action.7
- It is important to note that manjistha may temporarily turn urine color orange or brown.
- Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women is not known.
- Safety associated with severe liver or kidney disease is not known.
Herbs can heal and nourish if taken in the right quantity, at the right time and according to one’s prakriti (body type).
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you consult an Ayurvedic practitioner in your area and find out whether manjistha is the right herb for you.
Scientific Research On Manjistha
As Ayurveda and other traditional systems of health care are gaining popularity, scientific studies are being conducted at various levels throughout the globe on herbal supplements.
These studies are preliminary studies only. They are indicative of the further direction in which more extensive research may be undertaken. It will be a matter of a few more years before these results are established and accepted globally.
However, it is good to have a look at the current research and their findings.
Disclaimer: These research studies are being reproduced here for knowledge purposes only and are in no way endorsed by the author or TheAyurvedaExperience.com.
Manjistha For Skin Care
- Anti-Acne property: Methanol extract of Rubia cordifolia inhibits proliferation of P. acne.8
- It is moderately effective against TNF-alpha and shows low activity against IL-8. It is regarded as astringent and useful in external inflammations like ulcers and skin diseases.9
- The anthraquinone rich fraction of R. cordifolia in a gel formulation showed the anti-acne activity against Propionibacterium acne, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Malassezia furfur when compared with standard Clindamycin gel.10
- Psoriasis is a skin disorder characterized by hyperproliferation and aberrant differentiation of epidermal keratinocytes.
- Ethyl acetate (EA) fraction of Radix Rubiae inhibits cell growth and promotes terminal differentiation in cultured human keratinocytes which strongly suggest its antipsoriatic activity.
- Evaluation is done by cornified envelope (CE) formation assay showed that EA fraction of Radix Rubiae significantly accentuated the CE formation, a well-recognized marker of terminal differentiation, in cultured HEK and HaCaT cells in a dose and time-dependent manner.11
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before using manjistha.
1. Agnivesha, Charaka samhita. Commentary: Vidyotini by Kasinatha Sastri and Gorakha Natha Chaturvedi, sutrasthan vol-I, chapter-4, verse no 8, 39, 16, pp- 90, 98, 92.
2. PV. Sharma, Sushruta Samhita, Sutra sthana with Dalhan’s commentary, English Translation(2013), Chaukhambha Vishwa Bharati,Varanasi, Chapter 38,Pp 362, verse no.47.
3. JLN Shastry, Dravya Guna Vigyan (Vol2)(Study of the essential medicinal plants in Ayurveda) 2015,Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi, PP-277.
4. K.C Chunekar, Bhavaprakash Nighantu(Indian Materia medica) Of Bhava Mishra(2015), Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi, PP 107-108
5. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part 1, vol-3,Government of India, Ministry of Health &Family Welfare, Department of ISM&H, Serial no.52, PP-114.
6. P.V. Sharma, Dravya Guna Vigyan, vol-2, 2005, Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi,Pp-801
7. Tripathi YB, Pandey S, Shukla SD. (1993) Anti-platelet activating factor property of Rubia cordifolia Linn. Indian J. Exp. Biol. 31, 533-535.
8. Gorle AM, Patil SS. Evaluation of antioxidant and anti-acne property of Rubia cordifolia. Der Pharmacia Sinica. 2010; 1(3): 59-63.
9. Jain A, Bansal E, Inhibition of Propionibacterium acnes-induced mediators of inflammation by Indian herbs, Phytomedicine .2003;10: 34–38. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12622461
10. Khan N, Karodi R, Siddiqui A, Thube S, Rub R, Development of anti-acne gel formulation of anthraquinones rich fraction from Rubia cordifolia (Rubiaceae), Int. J. Applied Res. Natl. Products. 2012; 4: 28-36.
11. Zhou LL, Lin ZX, Fung KP, Che CT, Zhao M, Cheng CHK, Zuo Z. Ethyl acetate fraction of Radix rubiae inhibits cell growth and promotes terminal differentiation in cultured human keratinocytes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology.2012; 142: 241-247