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Madder Root Extract (Rubia tinctorum)

Rubia tinctorum, the common madder or dyer's madder, is a herbaceous perennial plant species belonging to the bedstraw and coffee family Rubiaceae.

It has been used since ancient times as a vegetable red dye for leather, wool, cotton and silk. For dye production, the roots are harvested after two years. The outer brown layer gives the common variety of the dye, the lower yellow layer the refined variety.

Madder can be fermented for dyeing as well (Fleurs de garance). In France, the remains were used to produce a spirit as well. The roots contain the acid ruberthyrin. By drying, fermenting, or a treatment with acids, this is changed to sugar, alizarin and purpurin, which were first isolated by the French chemist Pierre Jean Robiquet in 1826. Purpurin is normally not coloured, but is red when dissolved in alkaline solutions. Mixed with clay and treated with alum and ammonia, it gives a brilliant red colourant (madder lake).

The plant's roots contain several polyphenolic compounds, such as 1,3-Dihydroxyanthraquinone (purpuroxanthin), 1,4-Dihydroxyanthraquinone (quinizarin), 1,2,4-Trihydroxyanthraquinone (purpurin) and 1,2-dihydroxyanthraquinone (alizarin). This last compound gives it its red colour to a textile dye known as Rose madder. It was also used as a colourant, especially for paint, that is referred to as madder lake. The substance was also derived from another species, Rubia cordifolia.

Find Organic Madder Root in the following BVO Products.


For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.