LATIN NAME: Rubia Tinctoria


HABITAT: In the wild, it grows in Dagestan, Azerbaijan and other regions of the Caucasus, in the Crimea, in Central Asia, as well as in areas with temperate and tropical climates of Africa and America. It grows in riverbank shrubs, steppe meadows, and forest edges, in bright pine forests, orchards, vineyards and along fences. Madder grows on the sands, loams, and continuous soils of solonetzes.


The family Rubiaceae is one of the largest among angiosperms. It includes 450-500 genera and 6000-7000 species of plants that are distributed throughout the globe. The genus Rubia has about 55 species of herbaceous plants, as well as shrubs.

Rubia Tinctoria is a perennial herbaceous plant with a height of 30 cm to 1.5 meters. The rhizome of the plant is long, horizontal, branched, reddish-brown outside, orange-red inside. The stems are tetrahedral, oppositely branched. Large curved thorns are located on the sides of the stems, with the help of which Madder clings to the plants located nearby. The leaves of the plant are arranged in whorls of 4-6 pieces. The flowers of the plant are small, yellowish-green, at the ends of the branches are collected in umbrella inflorescences. The fruits are black, juicy, berry-like drupes with 1-2 seeds. The blooming period is from June to August. The fruits ripen in August-November.


 The rhizomes of the plant contain organic acids (citric, malic, tartaric), triterpenoids, anthraquinones (ruberitric acid, halosin, purpurin, purpuroxanthin, pseudopurpurin, rubiadin, ibericin and rubiadin, as well as free-form alizarin), iridoids, proteins, pectin and ascorbic acid. In the aerial part, carbohydrates, iridoids, phenolcarboxylic acids and their derivatives, coumarins, flavonoids (quercetin, kempferol, apigenin, luteolin, etc.) were found; in the leaves - iridoids and flavonoids; in the flowers - flavonoids rutin and hyperoside. The rhizomes and roots contain ash, macronutrients, and trace elements.

ACTIONS: Rubia Tinctoria possesses aperient, aperitive, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, diuretic, emmenagogue, lilolytic and expectorant actions on the body.


  • This plant has a diuretic effect. It contributes to loosening and rapid removal of stones from the kidneys and bladder, and relax the muscles of the renal pelvis and ureter. Rubia Tinctoria posssesses the greatest effect with stones of phosphate (calcium and magnesium phosphates) and oxalate origin. Therefore, Madder is used for kidney stone disease, nephropielitis, cystitis, as well as nocturia and urinary tract spasms associated with prostate adenoma and prostatitis.
  • Madder cleanses the body of toxins. Once in the stomach, Madder stimulates the production of gastric juice, has an anti-inflammatory effect, enhances the excretion of bile, and cleanses the body of toxins.
  • In addition, this medicinal plant cleanses the blood, improves immunity and promotes cell renewal.
  • Coumarins in its chemical composition destroy malignant cells, preventing the appearance of neoplasms. Therefore, it is effectively used in traditional medicine for the treatment of cancer.
  • Decoctions and tinctures of Madder from the body removes excess salt, helping in the fight against osteochondrosis and joint diseases.
  • As an additional tool, Madder is used in the treatment of bone diseases such as caries, tuberculosis and rickets.
  • Also, Rubia Tinctoria is used in the treatment of gastrointestinal tract diseases, with constipation, jaundice, bedwetting, polyarthritis, gout.
  • This herb is applied internally in case of age spots, for the treatment of dermatomycosis, and ulcers.


Madder is contraindicated in case of chronic and acute glomerulonephritis, peptic ulcer disease, hyperacid gastritis, severe renal failure.

Should not be consumed during pregnancy and breast-feeding period.


Hippocrates, Dioscorides, Galen, wrote about the healing power of Madder and used it for the treatment of kidney and liver diseases and for healing wounds.

In ancient centuries, the rhizomes and roots of Madder were valued in Rome, Greece, Persia, and Egypt. Persistent red dye was obtained from the plant roots. In those days, Madder was almost the only plant that was used to dye cotton, wool and silk fabrics.

In the ancient period, it was a budget replacement for expensive purple. Through the Alps, the plant moved to Central Europe thanks to the Benedictine monks.

In France during the VIII-XIX centuries there were large plantations of Madder. This is because the soldiers had red pants, but there were no synthetic dyes at that time and, accordingly, a large number of Madder roots were required for the production of the uniform until the First World War.

*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.