Development of anti-acne gel formulation of anthraquinones rich fraction from Rubia cordifolia (Rubiaceae)

K Khan, R Karodi, A Siddiqui, S Thube, R A Rub


Summary. Acne vulgaris, a common skin disorder speculated in the age group of 15-25 years begins with increased production of sebum followed by the attack of Propionibacterium acne (Kathryn et al). Most of the synthetic anti-acne drugs tend to exhibit mild to severe side effects along with peeling and darkening of skin, ultimately leading to social withdrawal. Hence, there arises a need to develop a safe and effective anti-acne formulation that would cure and also prevent recurrence of acne. Considering the fact that roots of R. cordifolia (Rubiaceae) are rich in anthraquinones characterized for their anti-inflammatory as well as wound healing property, (Singh, 2004) a gel formulation of anthraquinone rich fraction was developed and evaluated for its anti-acne potential using Cup plate diffusion method. A gel formulation containing 0.1 % of anthraquinone rich fraction exhibited optimum anti-acne activity against P.acne, S.epidermidis, M.furfur (zone of inhibition- 28.9, 20.4, 24.6 mm respectively) when compared with standard i.e. Clindamycin gel (zone of inhibition- 36.7, 35.3, 32.7 mm respectively). Thus anthraquinone rich fraction in a gel formulation is proved to have a better potential in treating acne.

Industrial relevance. Rubia cordifolia, often known as Common Madder, Indian Madder or Manjistha is highly recommended in skin diseases associated with edema and oozing (Yuangang Zu et al, 2010). The root powder was found to work well with ghee, for the medicament of acne. Used externally as a paste by itself or with honey, it heals inflammation and gives the skin an even tone and smoothness. Since the roots are claimed to be rich in anthraquinones, in this research work anthraquinone rich fraction from the roots R. cordifolia were extracted and formulated into an herbal gel and evaluated for its anti-acne activity. Topical gels are very useful as palliative products and prove to be economical and safe; hence it was decided to formulate a simple yet effective anti-acne gel of anthraquinone rich fraction of R. cordifolia with a carbomer as a best gelling agent.


anti-acne, anthraquinone, gel, Rubia cordifolia, Propionibacterium acne, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Malassezia furfur

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