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Manjistha – Wonder Herb To Fight Acne

Manjistha or Indian madder is used in Ayurveda to treat various conditions, especially for diseases of the skin and blood. It helps treat acne and rejuvenates skin complexion by purifying the blood and flushing out toxins.

manjistha to fight acne
Noni-Ingredient-Kapiva

Are you troubled by pimples? You’re not alone! It is estimated that around 95% of people suffer from acne between eleven and thirty years of age.[1][Overview Acne]( Acne – NHS (www.nhs.uk)”Overview Acne”). NHS.UK. And while it’s most common among teenagers and young adults some people suffer from this problem even in their 40s and 50s.

Acne develops when the pores in your skin get clogged by oil and dead cells. Depending on how severe your condition is you might get:

  • whiteheads (clogged pores that are closed),
  • blackheads (clogged pores that are open),
  • papules (tender, reddish, small bumps),
  • pustules (papules which have pus at the tip),
  • nodules (painful, large, solid bumps beneath the skin), or
  • cysts (painful bumps filled with pus).

Ayurveda describes this condition as yauvanapidika. It is considered to develop due to an imbalance in kapha (related to the elements of water and earth), vata (related to the elements of air and ether), and rakta (blood which is related mainly to the fire element) in the body.[2]Pampaniya, Piyush V., and Darshana H. Pandya. “Effect of Shalmalyadilepa and Guduchyadivati in the management of Yauvanapidika (Acne).” Ayu 34, no. 2 (2013): 174.[3]Shilpa, S., and CG Venkatesha Murthy. “Understanding personality from Ayurvedic perspective for psychological assessment: A case.” Ayu 32, no. 1 (2011): 12.

What Are The Root Causes And Triggers For Acne?

Acne develops when tiny pores in our skin known as hair follicles get clogged. Hair grows out of these pores and they are attached to glands that secrete oil or sebum which prevent our skin and hair from becoming dry. If these glands produce excess oil then they can mix with dead skin cells and block hair follicles which leads to the formation of whiteheads and blackheads. Bacteria that live on your skin and are typically harmless can then infect these blocked follicles and cause inflammation leading to pustules, cysts, nodules, or papules. So essentially, the four major factors that cause acne are:

  • overproduction of sebum,
  • blocked hair follicles,
  • bacteria, and
  • inflammation.

However, other factors can increase your chances of suffering from this condition:

1. Hormonal Changes

Hormones can have an impact on whether you get acne. Teenage acne is considered to be triggered by testosterone, which increases during puberty. Testosterone is thought to trigger your sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum.

Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or periods can also lead to acne. Even hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome can lead to an outbreak.

2. Some Medicines

Some medicines such as lithium and steroids can trigger acne. Certain medications used for dealing with epilepsy can do so too. Your doctor will be able to inform you if any medication that you’re on can trigger acne.

3. Family History

According to experts, genetics has a part to play in the development of acne. It has been found that you are more likely to get acne if your parents had it. You’re also more likely to get adult acne if both or either of your parents had adult acne.

Do bear in mind that things like pollution, humidity, stress, and pressure from tight clothes, helmets, or backpacks can aggravate acne. As can roughly scrubbing your skin or picking at your pimples.[4][Acne Causes](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/acne/causes/ “Acne Causes”). NHS,UK. [5][What causes acne?](What is Acne? Definition & Types | NIAMS (nih.gov)“What causes acne?”). National Institutes of Health. [6][Acne](Acne – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic“Acne”). Mayo Clinic.

How Does Manjistha Fight Acne?

Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia) or Indian madder is a perennial climber with a reddish bark. It has been utilized in Ayurveda to treat various conditions like herpes, haemorrhoids, snake bites, eye diseases, menstrual disorders, etc.

It is considered particularly useful for diseases of the skin and blood. Its varnya (complexion improving), raktashodhak (blood purifying), vishaghna (toxin removing), rasayana (rejuvenative), and krimighna (anthelmintic – that destroys worms) properties are thought to make it ideal for tackling acne.

1. Fights Acne-Causing Bacteria

Research indicates that manjistha has the ability to inhibit Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium that plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of acne. This bacterium functions as a trigger for oxidative stress that leads to acne inflammation. So the antibacterial properties of manjistha might help you get rid of those unsightly zits![7]Gorle, Archana M., and Swati S. Patil. “Evaluation of antioxidant and antiacne property of Rubia cordifolia.” Der Pharmacia Sinica 1, no. 3 (2010): 59-63.

2. Fights Inflammation

Manjistha is also known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. It has been found to affect two significant inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of acne. It acts by suppressing the free radicals induced by Propionibacterium acnes which lead to inflammation. But that’s not all. It has also been found to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines which are proteins that play an important role in the immune system.[8]Jain, A., and E. Basal. “Inhibition of Propionibacterium acnes-induced mediators of inflammation by Indian herbs.” Phytomedicine 10, no. 1 (2003): 34-38.

3. Helps Fade Acne Spots

Acne can leave you with dark spots and scars. This is due to the irregular dispersion or overproduction of melanin, the pigment that’s responsible for skin color. The more melanin you have the darker your skin is. Skin inflammation due to acne can cause hyperpigmentation.[9]Davis, Erica C., and Valerie D. Callender. “Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation: a review of the epidemiology, clinical features, and treatment options in skin of color.” The Journal of … Continue reading But manjistha might help fade those dark spots. After all, it’s famous in Ayurveda for its “varṇya” property. That is, it improves the complexion and gives you an even tone. Research has shown that manjistha can lighten skin. This is because it inhibits an enzyme called tyrosinase which plays an important role in the production of melanin.[10]Sharma, Khemchand, Namrata Joshi, and Chinky Goyal. “Critical review of Ayurvedic Varṇya herbs and their tyrosinase inhibition effect.” Ancient Science of life 35, no. 1 (2015): 18.

How To Use Manjistha To Treat Acne?

1. Face Pack With Honey

Dry root and stem powder of manjistha is traditionally mixed with honey and applied to the face to ease dark spots and give the complexion an even tone. [11]Sharma, Laxmikant, Gaurav Agarwal, and Ashwani Kumar. “Medicinal plants for skin and hair care.” (2003).

  • Combine half to one teaspoon of manjistha powder with honey and dab it on the affected area. Alternatively, you can make a face pack by mixing it with rose water.
  • Wash it off after one or two hours.
  • For sensitive skin: combine manjistha with rose water instead of honey.

Try this treatment two to three times a week to get rid of acne.

Did you know that like manjistha, honey too has the ability to fight acne-causing bacteria and ease hyperpigmentation?[12]Julianti, Elin, Kasturi K. Rajah, and Irda Fidrianny. “Antibacterial activity of ethanolic extract of cinnamon bark, honey, and their combination effects against acne-causing bacteria.” … Continue reading [13]Jantakee, Kanyaluck, and Yingmanee Tragoolpua. “Activities of different types of Thai honey on pathogenic bacteria causing skin diseases, tyrosinase enzyme and generating free radicals.” … Continue reading That makes this combination a double whammy as far as acne is concerned.

2. Face Pack With Ghee

Manjistha powder is also mixed with ghee and used topically to tackle acne.[14]Meena, Vandana. “Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia)-A helping herb in cure of acne.” Journal of Ayurveda and Holistic Medicine (JAHM) 3, no. 2 (2015): 11-17. This is especially beneficial for those with dry skin.

  • Mix 1 gram manjistha powder to 1 teaspoon of ghee and apply to the affected area.
  • Instead of ghee you can also use rose water, which is more effective.
  • Keep for 10-15 mins and rinse off with water.

Precautions While Using Manjishta

Manjistha is usually safe to use topically.

  • Always do a patch test when trying a new skin care product. Apply a tiny amount of manjistha to a small patch of skin to rule out allergic reactions. If you’re allergic, you might experience blistering or reddening of the skin. It might take two to four days for you to experience a reaction.[15][Allergy testing](Allergy testing – Better Health Channel “Allergy testing”). Better Health Channel.
  • For those with hypersensitive skin, use the powder with rose water, as rose water is soothing.
  • If taken orally, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it.
  • It can also cause constipation and is not recommended for internal use in people with gastritis or hyperacidity.

Common Myths About Acne

Acne is a very common condition that most of us have experienced at some point or the other. However, many misunderstandings regarding it continue to persist. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Poor hygiene is responsible for acne
    The biological reactions which lead to the development of acne occur mostly beneath your skin. So hygiene doesn’t really impact whether you get acne. Moreover, frequent washing and harsh scrubbing can cause damage to your skin. But, using a gentle cleanser twice a day and if you sweat heavily to clean your face may be useful as it can remove dead skin cells and excess oil.[16][What Can I Do About Acne?](What Can I Do About Acne? (for Teens) – Nemours Kidshealth“What Can I Do About Acne?”)Nemours Foundation.
  • Squeezing pimples can help you get rid of them
    Picking at or squeezing your pimples could make things worse and even lead to the development of scars.
  • Acne is an infectious condition
    You cannot get acne by coming in contact with someone who has it.
  • Sunlight can help lessen acne
    There is no definite evidence that sunlight can be helpful in easing acne. It is also important to keep in mind that some medicines used to tackle acne increase your sensitivity to sunlight. So you could damage your skin if you have excess exposure to sunlight while you’re using them.
  • Sexual activity is linked to acne
    Your sexual activity has no bearing on acne.[17][Acne Causes](“Acne Causes”). NHS,UK.

References

References
1 [Overview Acne]( Acne – NHS (www.nhs.uk)”Overview Acne”). NHS.UK.
2 Pampaniya, Piyush V., and Darshana H. Pandya. “Effect of Shalmalyadilepa and Guduchyadivati in the management of Yauvanapidika (Acne).” Ayu 34, no. 2 (2013): 174.
3 Shilpa, S., and CG Venkatesha Murthy. “Understanding personality from Ayurvedic perspective for psychological assessment: A case.” Ayu 32, no. 1 (2011): 12.
4 [Acne Causes](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/acne/causes/ “Acne Causes”). NHS,UK.
5 [What causes acne?](What is Acne? Definition & Types | NIAMS (nih.gov)“What causes acne?”). National Institutes of Health.
6 [Acne](Acne – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic“Acne”). Mayo Clinic.
7 Gorle, Archana M., and Swati S. Patil. “Evaluation of antioxidant and antiacne property of Rubia cordifolia.” Der Pharmacia Sinica 1, no. 3 (2010): 59-63.
8 Jain, A., and E. Basal. “Inhibition of Propionibacterium acnes-induced mediators of inflammation by Indian herbs.” Phytomedicine 10, no. 1 (2003): 34-38.
9 Davis, Erica C., and Valerie D. Callender. “Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation: a review of the epidemiology, clinical features, and treatment options in skin of color.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology 3, no. 7 (2010): 20.
10 Sharma, Khemchand, Namrata Joshi, and Chinky Goyal. “Critical review of Ayurvedic Varṇya herbs and their tyrosinase inhibition effect.” Ancient Science of life 35, no. 1 (2015): 18.
11 Sharma, Laxmikant, Gaurav Agarwal, and Ashwani Kumar. “Medicinal plants for skin and hair care.” (2003).
12 Julianti, Elin, Kasturi K. Rajah, and Irda Fidrianny. “Antibacterial activity of ethanolic extract of cinnamon bark, honey, and their combination effects against acne-causing bacteria.” Scientia pharmaceutica 85, no. 2 (2017): 19.
13 Jantakee, Kanyaluck, and Yingmanee Tragoolpua. “Activities of different types of Thai honey on pathogenic bacteria causing skin diseases, tyrosinase enzyme and generating free radicals.” Biological research 48, no. 1 (2015): 1-11.
14 Meena, Vandana. “Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia)-A helping herb in cure of acne.” Journal of Ayurveda and Holistic Medicine (JAHM) 3, no. 2 (2015): 11-17.
15 [Allergy testing](Allergy testing – Better Health Channel “Allergy testing”). Better Health Channel.
16 [What Can I Do About Acne?](What Can I Do About Acne? (for Teens) – Nemours Kidshealth“What Can I Do About Acne?”)Nemours Foundation.
17 [Acne Causes](“Acne Causes”). NHS,UK.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. For more information pertaining to your personal needs please see a qualified health practitioner.

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