Manjistha is a climbing or scrambling herb, with red rhizomatous base and roots. It can grow up to 150 cm (1.5 m). The stem is slender and four angled. Its leaves are rough, evergreen that whorls around its main stem in groups of 4-7, arranged in whorl of four per node and oval to heart shaped with long leaf stalk. The leaves have 5-7 main nerves. Flowers are very small, greenish white and arranged in branched cluster called dichasial cyme (forked flowering stalk, which bears specific number of flowers in each branch). Manjistha flowers often blossoms in the month of June to August. The flowers have five petals measuring 3-5 mm across and appear pale yellow. The berries in shades of red to black follow these tiny flowers. Moreover, Manjistha roots can grow as thick as 12 mm and 1 meter long. As the herb''s name implies, its roots are bright red or brownish red in color and gives red dye. The fruit is round fleshy drupe. When ripe is dark-purple.
Manjistha is one of the most valuable herb used in Ayurveda. In ancient times it was used to color the clothes, due to its artificial coloring agent. In Ayurveda its medicinal uses are also emphasized. It is categorized into different class as per Ayurvedic classification such as Charak categorized the herb as varnya (improves the complexion), jvarahara, (reduces fever) and visaghna (anti-toxic). It is also a well-known rasayana - a rejuvenative, Sushruta has mentioned Manjistha as pittasamsamana or that which pacifies the pitta dosha.
It is best known for blood purification and helpful in various skin diseases. Manjistha herb also corrects the functioning of whole urinary system and prevents kidney stones.
Its principal constituents are purpurin, munjistin, xanthopurpurin or purpuroxanthin and Pseudopurpurin.
Manjistha is a renowned medicinal herb commonly found in India, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Hindi / Sanskrit
Tikta, Kashaya, Madhura
Bitter, Astringent, Sweet
Metabolic Property (After Digestion)
It is Kapha Pitta Shamak that helps to pacify the vitiated Kapha and Pitta. It is mainly Pittahara.
· Jvarahara (Helps in fever)
· Varnya (Good for skin)
· Vishaghna (Anti-poisonous and Anti-toxic)
· Priyangvadi and Pittasamshamana
The Bhavprakash nighantu, edition of 1998: verse 188-191, page no-110-112.
It states that there are various names of manjith - manjistha, viksa, jingi, samanga, kalmeshika, mandukarpani, bhandiri, bhandi, yojnavalli, rasayni, aruna, rakatyashtika, bhanditki, manjusha and vastrajinni.
The second verse states that the properties of manjistha are madhur, astringent and bitter in taste and heavy in nature and with hot potency. It has ability to balance all three doshas. It removes toxins, manages cough, gynecological diseases, eye and ear disorders, skin diseases, blood disorders and diabetes.
The Bhavprakash nighantu with elaborated Hindi commentary by Padmashri prof. K.C. Chunekar, edited by Dr. G.S. Pandey: edition of 1998: verse 188-191, page no-110-112.