Ratanjot is the common name of a plant in India, almost certainly in the Boraginaceae family, that has medicinal properties and also yields a red dyestuff that is used in foods, cosmetics etc. The plant is commonly traded in markets through much of India. Arnebia speciosa Aitch. & Hemsl. (syn Arnebia nobilis) is probably the main source of ratanjot, though at least 15 different species share this common name and many of these also have medicinal uses and supply a similar red dye. Onosma hispida Wall. ex G.Don (often wrongly referred to as Onosma echioides) is probably often also used as a source of ratanjot and the following species in Boraginaceae are likely to be also used at times:- Alkanna tinctoria L.; Arnebia benthamii (Wall. ex G.Don) I.M.Johnst.; Arnebia euchroma (Royle) I.M.Johnst.; Arnebia hispidissima (Sieber ex Lehm.) A.DC.; Maharanga emodi (Wall.) DC.; and Onosma hookeri C.B.Clarke[
Maharanga wallichiana DC.
Onosma emodi Wall.
Onosma vestita Wall. ex G.Don
Maharanga emodi is a herbaceous perennial plant producing a clump of several prostrate to ascending, unbranched stems; it can grow around 30 - 40cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wid for local use as a medicine and a hair tonic.
E. Asia - Himalayas of Nepal, northeast India, Tibet
Open rocky ground, rocky slopes, steppe and scree; at elevations from 2,200 - 4,500 metres[
]. Moist places by streams; at elevations from 1,600 - 3,000 metres[
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The root juice, mixed with mustard oil, is put on ear to treat ear pain[
The whole plant is used in the treatment of hypertension, fever, lung problems, skin diseases, rheumatism, urinary disorders and as a hair tonic[
A methanolic extract of the root is reported to have moderate activity against human influenza virus[
A toxicity study conducted showed high CC50 values (>100 μg ml-1) indicating rthe relative safety of the extract[
The juice of the rhizome is used as a hair tonic[
The root extract, mixed with mustard oil, is applied as a hair dye[