Madder (biochemistry)

Perennial herbaceous plant with a longish thin creeping rhizome, with roots at the nodes. The rhizomes are dark brown on the outside, the bark is red-brown when broken, the wood is bright red. Stems 1-2 m tall, adjacent, tetrahedral at the top, seated along the edges with backward-curved spines, which cling to neighboring plants. The leaves are petiolate (unlike other types of madder), heart-shaped, with 7 main veins, located on the stem, 4 in whorls. Inflorescences are apical and axillary, repeatedly trifoliate-forked semi-umbels. The flowers are yellow, the fruit is spherical, black, drupe-shaped with one stone.

Rhizomes with madder roots have long been used in India for diseases of the kidneys and gallbladder.

In European medicine, only in the last years they began to use madder as an effective remedy for urinary and gallstone diseases. Apply rhizomes with roots

(Rhiz. Rubiae) cultivated in Europe a closely related species of madder dye – Rubia tinctorum L., and in the USSR – the roots of Georgian madder – R. iberica C. Koch, growing in the Caucasus.

Rhizomes with roots of all types of madder contain a mixture of anthracene derivatives in free form and in the form of glycosides. The aglycones are rubiadin, purpurin, alizarin, etc.

Madder preparations (extract, complex product cystenal, etc.) contribute to the dissolution and excretion of phosphates, oxalates and urates from the body.

Madder roots were used in technique for dyeing wool and cotton fabrics red (alizarin is a red pigment).

Currently, madder is being replaced by synthetic alizarin.


The plant contains alizarin derivatives.



In anthracene glycosides, aglycones are anthracene derivatives of different degrees of oxidation:

Anthraquinones, in turn, can be divided into two large classes of natural compounds:

In anthraquinone glycosides, sugars are found at C 1 , C 6 and C 8 ; In antronols and antrons – also in position C 9 and C 10 . Glycosides are mostly monosides, but biosides are also quite common. Along with glycosides, raw materials traditionally contain free aglycones.

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