Alizarin has been used as a staining agent for centuries. Originally alizarin vegetable dye was prepared from the madder plant Rubia tinctorum, but now a synthetic preparation is used that is chemically identical. Madder has been regarded as a mild diuretic.
The Ministry of Health of Russian Federation has approved alizarin as an antiviral preparation for acute and relapsing forms of herpes simplex infection of extragential and genital areas, herpetiform Kaposi's eczema, viral diseases of the oral cavity, herpes zoster and chicken pox in both children and adults.
Currently, there are no well-established therapeutic uses of alizarin. Precautions should be taken while handling this dye due to the lack of safety data.
Alizarin Fluorine Blue, alizarin red, alizarin red S (ARS), alizarin S, alizarin sulfonic acid, alizarin yellow GG, alizarine, anthraquine, dyer's madder, faberrote, garance, Krapp, madder, madder plant, robbia, rubia, Rubia tintorum, Rubia tinctorum L., Rubia tinctorum radix.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
The limited available evidence suggests that alizarin may improve various herpes infections. Additional study is needed before a firm conclusion may be made.