Natural Ingredients, Zinda Tilismath

Alkanna Plant – A Nature’s Gift Loaded with Medicinal Properties

Alkanna Tinctoria, also known as Dyer’s Alkanet, is an herb from Boraginaceae family of plants native to the Mediterranean region. Since ancient times, it is being consumed for treating various ailments alone as well as in different formulations.

Owing to its medicinal benefits, it is widely used in products formed by Zinda Tilismath. The presence of compounds like naphthoquinones, derivatives of alkannin, and Esters from the acids β,β-dimethylacrylic acid, β-acetoxy-isovaleric acid makes it highly effective for use in herbal medicines (Papageorgiou 1499).

Alkanna Tinctoria Flower

Beneficial Effects of Alkanna Tinctoria

There are several beneficial effects for which Alkanet has been known for ages. The roots and leaves both are used for their pharmacological applications that are given below.


Inflammation can be caused by an immune system response to the damaging of body cells. The inflammation can go worse over time and become chronic if not treated. Alkanna Tinctoria has been in use since old times to treat inflammation as a home remedy, which is now proved by the research as well (Kourounakis et al. 262; Mahmoudi et al. 564).


Alkanna Tinctoria is highly useful in treating ailments caused by pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Analysis of pure compound for anti-microbial actions against common pathogens affecting human immune systems, yielded significant inhibitory concentrations against most of them, specifically against Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Subramaniam et al. 129).  The Alkanna roots extracts along with a mixture of water and ethanol are proved to be effective against bacteria that cause skin infections (Alwahibi et al. 7946).

Effective against Multi-Drug Resistant bacteria:

Multidrug-resistant pathogens can cause fatal maladies to the body and are difficult to treat, however, these are reported to be showing inhibited activity when subjected to the extracts of Alkanna tinctoria leaves (Khan et al. 1).

Wound Healing:

The Alkanna plant has been in use for ages for healing purposes (Yazarlu et al.). Research has shown that Alkanna extracts can fully heal burns and wounds in crude as well as tincture forms which makes it a vital ingredient in ointments (Gümüş et al. 66).

The presence of compounds like Alkannin and Shikonin, which are active ingredients in pharmaceutical compositions, and contain isohexenylnaphthazarins, makes Alkanna a viable part of the products formulated for this purpose (Papageorgiou et al. 3248).

Pain relief:

Headaches and migraines can sometimes be severe and an indication of some underlying conditions. Alkanet root helps improve blood circulation to treat the triggers of migraine and headaches (Atwa et al. 309).Clinical trials of the Alkanna Tinctoria performed to manage the donor site after skin grafting has shown a substantial decrease in the surface area of the graft site as compared to the control groups (Kheiri et al. 1).

Effective treatment of Ulcers:

Owing to its wound healing properties, Alkanna Tinctoria is an effective treatment for healing gastric ulcers (Yang et al. 1).

Antiaging effects:

Slowing the aging process has always been a fascination to scientists. The disruption of connective tissues, exposure to harmful Ultraviolet rays, and free radicals cause the skin to wrinkle and the signs of aging to appear early. Research has been done on different solvent fractions of Alkanna Tinctoria root bark to assess the factors like anti-elastase, and sun protection factor (SPF) and proved to be preventing the skin from the harmful causes of aging (Jaradat et al. 88).

Radical scavenging:

The radical scavenging activity of monomeric and oligomeric Alkannin and Shikonin, as well as extracts of Alkanna tinctoria roots, has been investigated by research (Assimopoulou et al. 141).

The results showed significant radical scavenging activity that helps prevent the free radicals from affecting the skin cells thus helping in revitalizing its elasticity and rejuvenating the skin.


Antioxidants play a crucial role in protecting the body against free radicals ultimately saving the body from serious diseases of heart and cancer. The roots of the Alkanet plant are a rich source of antioxidants. Derivatives of the Alkanet like essential oils contain many phytochemicals and phenolics. The concentrations are reported to be increased in the water and Ethyl acetate-based extracts of Alkanet (Ozer et al. 1177).

Anti-tumoral and Anti-Cancer properties:

Cancer is a deadly disease that is the leading cause of high mortality rate in the world. Anti-cancer activity of certain root extracts produced from A. tinctoria has been observed in diverse tumor cell lines including the bladder, stomach, breast, pancreatic, and renal tissue, which can be attributed to their phenolic components (Rashan et al. 489).

The main bioactive chemical extracted from the alkanet plant is naphthoquinone, whose compounds have been reported to have anticancer action (Kapadia et al. 47). Alkannin and angelylalkannin obtained from A. tinctoria have been proved to be promising in suppressing cancerous cells (Huu Tung et al. 66). In addition to being inexpensive, natural chemical compounds have lesser toxicity than regularly used chemotherapy medicines. A. tinctoria extracts can be used alone or in combination with conventional chemotherapy to boost efficacy and reduce drug-induced toxicity.

Bottom Line

The use of natural herbs for treating ailments proves beneficial and causes little to no harm to the body in the form of side effects.

Alkanna Tinctoria has been used since ancient times to treat conditions like inflammation, wounds, burns, infections, Etc.

It is owing to its constituents like naphthoquinones, derivatives of alkannin, Esters, Etc. Alkanet is a vital ingredient of the Zinda Tilismath.


Alwahibi, Mona Suliman, and Kahkashan Perveen. Chemical Analysis by GC-MS and in Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Alkanna Tinctoria Extracts against Skin Infection Causing Bacteria. no. 18, 2017, pp. 7946–49,

Assimopoulou, A. N., and V. P. Papageorgiou. “Radical Scavenging Activity of Alkanna Tinctoria Root Extracts and Their Main Constituents, Hydroxynaphthoquinones.” Phytotherapy Research : PTR, vol. 19, no. 2, Feb. 2005, pp. 141–47,

Atwa, Nagwa, et al. “Alkanna Species: A Promising Herbal Medicine and Its Uses.” Journal of Food Science and Nutrition Research, vol. 2, no. 4, 2019, pp. 309–15,

Gümüş, Kenan, and Zeynep Karaman Özlü. “The Effect of a Beeswax, Olive Oil and Alkanna Tinctoria (L.) Tausch Mixture on Burn Injuries: An Experimental Study with a Control Group.” Complementary Therapies in Medicine, vol. 34, Oct. 2017, pp. 66–73,

Huu Tung, Nguyen, et al. “Naphthoquinone Components from Alkanna Tinctoria (L.) Tausch Showed Significant Antiproliferative Effects on Human Colorectal Cancer Cells.” Phytotherapy Research : PTR, vol. 27, no. 1, Jan. 2013, p. 66,

Jaradat, Nidal Amin, et al. “Phytoconstituents, Antioxidant, Sun Protection and Skin Anti-Wrinkle Effects Using Four Solvents Fractions of the Root Bark of the Traditional Plant Alkanna Tinctoria (L.).” European Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol. 21, Aug. 2018, pp. 88–93,

Kapadia, Govind J., et al. “Anti-Tumor Promoting Effects of Naphthoquinone Derivatives on Short Term Epstein-Barr Early Antigen Activation Assay and in Mouse Skin Carcinogenesis.” Cancer Letters, vol. 113, no. 1–2, Feb. 1997, pp. 47–53,

Khan, Usman Ali, et al. “Alkanna Tinctoria Leaves Extracts: A Prospective Remedy against Multidrug Resistant Human Pathogenic Bacteria.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 15, no. 1, Apr. 2015, pp. 1–6,

Kheiri, Aliasghar, et al. “The Effects of Alkanna Tinctoria Tausch on Split-Thickness Skin Graft Donor Site Management: A Randomized, Blinded Placebo-Controlled Trial.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 17, no. 1, May 2017, pp. 1–5,

Kourounakis, Angeliki P., et al. “Alkannin and Shikonin: Effect on Free Radical Processes and on Inflammation-A Preliminary Pharmacochemical Investigation.” Arch. Pharm. Pharm. Med. Chem, vol. 6, 2002, pp. 262–66,

Mahmoudi, Saber Zare, et al. “Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Activity of Alkanna Bracteosa and Alkanna Tricophila.” Natural Product Research, vol. 26, no. 6, Mar. 2012, pp. 564–69,

Ozer, M. Sabih, et al. “Essential Oil Composition and Antioxidant Activities of Alkanet (Alkanna Tinctoria Subsp. Tinctoria).” Food Science and Biotechnology 2010 19:5, vol. 19, no. 5, Oct. 2010, pp. 1177–83,

Papageorgiou, V. P., et al. “Alkannins and Shikonins: A New Class of Wound Healing Agents.” Current Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 15, no. 30, Dec. 2008, pp. 3248–67,

Papageorgiou, V. P. “Wound Healing Properties of Naphthaquinone Pigments from Alkanna Tinctoria.” Experientia, vol. 34, no. 11, 1978, pp. 1499–501.

Rashan, Luay, et al. “In Vitro Anti-Proliferative Activity of the Rubia Tinctorum and Alkanna Tinctoria Root Extracts in Panel of Human Tumor Cell Lines.” Jordan Journal of Biological Sciences, vol. 11, no. 5, 2018.

Subramaniam, Shankar, et al. “Acetyl Alkannin from Alkannatinctoria Works Synergistically along with Commercial Antibiotics against Common Human Pathogens.” Der Pharma Chemica, vol. 6, no. 3, 2016, pp. 129–34,

Yang, Xiao, et al. “β-Acetoxyisovaleryl Alkannin (AAN-II) from Alkanna Tinctoria Promotes the Healing of Pressure-Induced Venous Ulcers in a Rabbit Model through the Activation of TGF-β/Smad3 Signaling.” Cellular and Molecular Biology Letters, vol. 26, no. 1, Dec. 2021, pp. 1–11,

Yazarlu, Omid, et al. “Perspective on the Application of Medicinal Plants and Natural Products in Wound Healing: A Mechanistic Review.” Pharmacological Research, vol. 174, Dec. 2021, p. 105841,

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