For many years the Mediterranean people have been using the root of the madder plant to dye wool and other fabrics red. Synthetic coloring substances, such as aniline, were discovered in the 20th century and have displaced the madder plant in industrial use. However, its medicinal applications are still alive. Hippocrates already used it as a diuretic, a property still taken advantage of.
Madder Plant Scientific Facts
- Other names – Madder dye plant, Rubia tinctorum L.
- French – Garance des teinturiers.
- Spanish – Rubia.
- Environment – Calcareous soils of southern Europe, where formerly this plant was cultivated. It also grows in South America.
- Description – Vivacious plant of the Rubiaceae family, growing up to one meter high. Its stem is quadrangular, reddish in color, and covered by thorny hooks. The root is large, winding, and red.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally – The root.
The root of the madder plant contains anthraquinone glycosides, to which it owes its coloring and diuretic properties and as alkaline citrates and malic and tartaric acids. Its more outstanding properties are the following:
- Diuretic – it is recommended for all kinds of renal afflictions (calculi, colic, infections) and cystitis.
- It relieves aches and has antiseptic properties on the urinary pathways, making it very useful for colic. It has been proven that this plant can dissolve certain types of renal calculi (kidney stones).
- Appetizer – it increases appetite.
- Choleretic – recommended for gall bladder disorders.
- Emmenagogue – it promotes menstruation and eases pain.
- Laxative – it promotes intestinal evacuation.
When using this plant as a remedy, urine, mucous secretion, and even sweat are dyed pink, but this is not a problem for health.
How to use Madder Plant
- Decoction with 30 to 40 g of ground root per liter of water. Boil for ten minutes. Drink from four to six cups daily.
- Root powder – The recommended dose is 2 to 4 g daily, distributed into three intakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is madder poisonous? No.
- Where does madder grow? This plant mostly grows in southern Europe and south America.
- What is madder used for? Madder is an excellent remedy for urinary tract conditions.
- What sort of plant is madder? It is a member of the Rubiaceae botanical family.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 589. Print.