Common Madder (Rubia Tinctorum)

Common Madder (Rubia Tinctorum) is a perennial plant, it lives for more than two years and belongs to the same family as coffee. Our Common Madder comes from Assam, Northeast India and grows up to 1.5m in height.

The cultivation of Common Madder can be traced back to antiquity and was an important source of red pigment in many regions of Asia, Africa and Europe.

Early archeological evidence in India can date back to the 3rd millennium BCE at Mohenjo-daro, one of the world’s earliest major urban settlements. It continued to be industrially cultivated for dyeing up until the 1860s.

The plant has evergreen leaves which are 5 to 10cm long and small flowers with 5 pale yellow petals. Common Madder blooms in mid-summer and is harvested in late autumn. It grows ideally in soils with a constant level of moisture and the roots can produce a large variety of reds, depending on the soil on which it was grown.

The roots can grow over a metre long and up to 12mm thick. Specifically for dye production, they are picked and harvested within the first year. The roots are picked and washed to remove the soil, then cut into small pieces.


The center of the root is yellow immediately after being cut, but quickly turns red when exposed to the air. Once dried and grinded, the Common Madder powder is ready to be used for dyeing.


Manjistha as it is known in Sanskrit is famous for its blood purifying properties and how it improves skin complexion. The roots, leaves, stems and berries can be used for medicines, both internally and externally.

The roots are extensively used to treat skin disorders, heal inflammation and support the natural function of the lymphatic system

With its antiseptic and astringent properties Manjishta can even skin tone, soften the skin and help to treat pimples, acne and burns with rapid results.

When mixed with honey, Manjishta can be applied onto the face as part of a skin care routine and is used in “Kumkumadi Tailam”, an Ayurvedic herbal face oil.​​