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Health Benefits And Uses Of Ratan Jot

Ratan Jot or Alkanna tinctoria, also commonly known as alkanet, is a plant that belongs to the Borage family. Ideally, this plant's roots produce a red coloring material which is used as a red dye. It is also used in many households to give food its trademark red color. Many times people substitute the use of alkanet dye with that of tomato for cooked dishes, but the outcome in terms of taste and look do not match [1] . Nevertheless, apart from its culinary aspects, Ratan Jot has been found to be beneficial in maintaining one's overall wellness. Its use as a healthy herb dates back to centuries. The alkanet plant, especially its root, is said to provide ample number of health benefits and treatment for common ailments. Read on to know more about the attributes of this herb along with its traditional and generalized, modern day health benefits and the caution that one needs to follow when using Ratan Jot.

ratanjot

Traditional Uses Of Ratan Jot [2]

  • Used externally to treat varicose veins, bed sores and itching rashes [3] .
  • Used internally to treat cough. Herbal tea made from alkanet can heal persistent coughing.
  • Used to treat diarrhea, gastric ulcers and skin wounds [4] .
  • Alkanet tea has been used as an astringent.
  • Alkanet has found usage in homeopathy where it alleviates symptoms of ulcers in the stomach.
  • It is believed that this herb when boiled has the capacity to treat kidney stones, jaundice, wounds, diarrhea, ulcers, fractures and abscesses [5] .
  • When used along with the resin of olive oil, Pistacia atlantica and laurel, this herb can treat blood clots in the leg [6] .
  • When combined with clarified butter, this herb can treat infections and burns.
  • To treat wounds, this herb is combined with Ferula assafoetida and Nigella sativa [7] .
  • Eye problems can be addressed using a decoction created using this herb along with clarified butter.

Health Benefits Of Ratan Jot [8]

1. Cures headache

Ratan Jot possesses anti-inflammatory effect. This helps in proper blood circulation and reduces the feeling of headache. Alkanet root is also widely used to treat migraine.

2. Cures fever

Alkanet possesses tremendous cooling effect, thus making it one of the best herbs that can be used to treat fever. It can induce sweating and hence has the ability to bring down the body's temperature.

3. Recovery from scars [9]

Ratan Jot is famous for its skin clearing abilities and hence it is also used in several face masks, facial cleansing products, etc. Alkanet root can protect the skin from various sorts of infections. Being anti-inflammatory in nature, alkanet is widely used to treat and heal burn scars. This feature makes alkanet a powerful sun-blocking and sunburn removing herb.

4. Treats sleeping disorders

Essential oil obtained from alkanet root is widely used to reduce the symptoms associated with sleeping disorders. People with chronic insomnia are suggested the use of this essential oil. Ayurvedic experts advice the use of this oil on the head and around the nose to attain relaxation and a feeling of calmness, which would in turn facilitate sleeping.

5. Maintains cardiac health

Many people soak alkanet root in water overnight and then drink it in the morning. This is a very powerful aspect followed by experts of herbal medicine. The ideology behind this is the power of the soaked alkanet root, which is capable of releasing and getting rid of the body's toxins and poisonous elements. This optimizes the functionality of the heart and helps with better circulation of blood.

6. Ensures good skin health

Ratan Jot is believed to be extremely good for the skin, especially due to its anti-viral and anti-bacterial features. Many people prepare masks out of the alkanet root and apply it on the skin to keep away signs of aging such as wrinkles and pigmentation. Application of the alkanet root oil also does wonders to the skin. Not just application, but consumption of alkanet root powder also helps one attain good skin health.

7. Good for the health of nail and hair

Alkanet can provide a natural color to your hair and is also known to strengthen the hair from its roots. Oil extracted from the alkanet roots have been traditionally used by many to prevent hair fall, to cover hair cuticles and to deal with symptoms of baldness.

One can also ensure good nail health with the use of Ratan Jot. Using the essential oil obtained from this can help you deal with issues of cracked nails. It also reduces any form of inflammation around the nail. One should ideally make it a habit to indulge in a routine nail care with the use of essential oil obtained from alkanet roots. Regular application of this oil on and around the nail prevents soreness and infections of any kind.

8. Treats hypertension

Ratan Jot possesses the ability to reduce the stress of the cardiovascular system and hence is effective for high blood pressure patients. Regular intake of this herb can help treat issues that could result in a stroke or heart attack.

9. Helpful for dysmenorrhea

The anti-inflammatory feature of alkanet root is very effective in curing the soreness of the tummy during menstruation, which we otherwise would understand as period cramps (pain of the pelvis or lower abdomen)

10. Treats rheumatic disease

Rheumatism is associated with inflammation and pain in the muscles, joints, etc. The most common one is rheumatoid arthritis. Regular application of the essential oil of alkanet has shown to provide relief to the pain and soreness. Consuming Ratan Jot powder also seems to be helpful in treating rheumatic diseases.

11. Heals fungal infections

Alkanet root works as a miraculous herb in treating skin fungal infections. Herbal experts suggest the external application of Ratan Jot for issues such as ringworm, eczema, etc. Alkanet root can cure herpes as well. The anti-viral effects of Ratan Jot is highly effective in curing herpes that causes sores especially around the mouth or the genitals.

Ratan Jot

Culinary Uses Of Ratan Jot [10]

The colored dye obtained from the roots of alkanet can be used to give the coloring effect to wines and alcoholic tinctures. Not just this, the color is used for vegetable oils and varnishes as well. One of the famous Indian curry dishes - 'Rogan Josh'- gets its red color from the dye obtained from Ratan Jot.

Apart from that, many households use Alkanet as a vegetable as well. Dried forms of alkanet leaves are used in potpourris, hence giving it the rich and musky fragrance.

General Facts About Alkanet [11]

  • The alkanet root can be used as a wood stain when powdered and mixed with oil.
  • Alkanet root is used as a colorant for cosmetics, especially lipsticks.
  • The red dye obtained from the roots of Alkanet can be used by pharmacists as well as for the preparation of perfume and as a stain for wood or marble. When used on wood, it can make the wood appear like rosewood or mahogany.
  • The dye from alkanet is used in thermometers and also as litmus while performing tests for alkalines and acids.
  • In olden days, French women used alkanet in the powdered form as make up.

Precautions To Take When Using Ratan Jot [12]

  • Ratan Jot, in any form, should not be consumed during pregnancy and by breastfeeding mothers.
  • Alkanet root might cause cirrhosis, pneumonitis, heart failure, liver failure or pulmonary hypertension.
  • There are chances of alkanet root causing lung toxicity (due to the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloid components). Hence, this herb should be moderately used.
View Article References
  1. [1] Mazzio, E. A., & Soliman, K. F. (2009). In vitro screening for the tumoricidal properties of international medicinal herbs. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 23(3), 385-98.
  2. [2] Khan, U. A., Rahman, H., Qasim, M., Hussain, A., Azizllah, A., Murad, W., Khan, Z., Anees, M., … Adnan, M. (2015). Alkanna tinctoria leaves extracts: a prospective remedy against multidrug resistant human pathogenic bacteria. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 15, 127.
  3. [3] Assimopoulu AN, Boskou D, Papageorgiou VP. Antioxidant activities of alkannin, shikonin and Alkanna tinctoria root extracts in oil substrates. Food Chem. 2004;87:433–438.
  4. [4] Assimopoulou, A. N., & Papageorgiou, V. P. (2005). Radical scavenging activity of Alkanna tinctoria root extracts and their main constituents, hydroxynaphthoquinones. Phytotherapy research: PTR, 19(2):141-147.
  5. [5] Assimopoulou, A. N., & Papageorgiou, V. P. (2005). Radical scavenging activity of Alkanna tinctoria root extracts and their main constituents, hydroxynaphthoquinones. Phytotherapy research: PTR, 19(2):141-147.
  6. [6] Assimopoulou, A. N., & Papageorgiou, V. P. (2005). Radical scavenging activity of Alkanna tinctoria root extracts and their main constituents, hydroxynaphthoquinones. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 19(2):141-147.
  7. [7] Assimopoulou, A. N., & Papageorgiou, V. P. (2005). Radical scavenging activity of Alkanna tinctoria root extracts and their main constituents, hydroxynaphthoquinones. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 19(2):141-147.
  8. [8] Assimopoulu AN, Boskou D, Papageorgiou VP. Antioxidant activities of alkannin, shikonin and Alkanna tinctoria root extracts in oil substrates. Food Chem. 2004;87:433–438.
  9. [9] The effect of Alkanna tinctoria Tausch on burn wound healing in rabbits. Ogurtan Z, Hatipoglu F, Ceylan C. Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2002 Nov; 109(11):481-485.
  10. [10] Huu Tung, N., Du, G. J., Wang, C. Z., Yuan, C. S., & Shoyama, Y. (2012). Naphthoquinone components from Alkanna tinctoria (L.) Tausch show significant antiproliferative effects on human colorectal cancer cells. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 27(1), 66-70.
  11. [11] Mazzio, E. A., & Soliman, K. F. (2009). In vitro screening for the tumoricidal properties of international medicinal herbs. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 23(3), 385-98.
  12. [12] Mazzio, E., Badisa, R., Mack, N., Deiab, S., & Soliman, K. F. (2013). High throughput screening of natural products for anti-mitotic effects in MDA-MB-231 human breast carcinoma cells. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 28(6), 856-67.

Read more about: health benefits
Story first published: Thursday, February 14, 2019, 17:00 [IST]
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