Rauwolfia serpentina is known as Sarpagandha in Hindi. It belongs to the family Apocynaceae and is found in sub-Himalayan ranges and Western Ghats of India. Rauvolfia serpentina is used in Homeopathy and Ayurveda for management of hypertension due to its hypotensive and neuro-depressive activities.
It is officially covered by both Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India and German Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia.
For medicinal purpose the roots of plant are used as they contain number of alkaloids such as Reserpine. In Homeopathy, the Mother Tincture is given in case of insanity and hypertension or High blood pressure, irritative condition of central nervous system, irregular beats, increased emotional excitability, irritative condition of central nervous system, mild depression, irritability and restlessness.
Information About Rauwolfia serpentina Plant
- Assamese: Arachorititia
- Bengali: Chandra
- Chinese: Lu fu mu
- English: Rauvolfia, Indian Snakeroot
- Hindi: Chandrabhaga, Chot:chand, Sarpagandha, Indian Snake root
- Kannada: Keramaddinagaddi
- Latin: Rauvolfia serpentina
- Malayalam: Churannavilpori, Suvapavalporiyam: Amalpori
- Marathi: Harkaya, Harki, Hadaki, Adakai
- Other names: Indian snakeroot, Devil pepper
- Sanskrit: Sarpaghanda
- Tamil: Chevanamalpodi, Sarpagandha:
- Telugu: Patalaguni, Patalgandha, Sarpagandha
- Trade name: Sarpagandha
- Other common names: Rauwolfae Radix, Indian Snakeroot, Sarpgandha, Serpiria, Rauvolfia Canescens, Rauvolfia serpentina, Rauwolfia serpentine, Alpha yohimbine, Corynanthidin, Corynanthidine, Isoyohimbine, Rauwolscine hydrochloride, 17 α-hydroxy-yohimban-16α-carboxylic acid methyl ester.
Description of Rauwolfia serpentina Plant
Rauwolfia serpentina is an erect herb or under shrub which is 15-75 cm high. Its roots are tuberous, irregularly nodular with pale brown bark. Its leaves is in whorls of three. Its flowers are 1.5 cm long, white or pink in colour. It is a perennial under shrub widely distributed in India. It is found in sub-Himalayan tracts up to 1,000 m as well as the lower ranges of the Eastern and Western Ghats and the Andaman. It is a good source of minerals such as Calcium, phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc.
Its root and bark extract is used to enhance performance. Native Indian medicine used the roots of Rauwolfia to cure from various central nervous disturbances like anxiety, excitement, psychosis and epilepsy.
Distribution: It is found in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Lakshadweep and Andaman Islands. It is also found in other countries like China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia.
It is a species of flower. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and East Asia.
Habitat: It grows well in hot humid climate, with a temperature between 10-38 degree Celsius. It needs partial shade tropical or subtropical belt. It grows in a rainfall ranging from 250-500 cm. It prefers sandy alluvial loam to red lateritic lam or stiff dark loam.
- Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
- Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
- Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
- Subclass: Asteridae
- Order: Gentianales
- Family: Apocynaceae – Dogbane family
- Genus: Rauvolfia L. – devil’s-pepper
- Species: Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. ex Kurz – serpentine wood
It contains 200 alkaloids.
Medicinal uses of Rauwolfia serpentina
Rauwolfia serpentina root is bitter and acrid and uses as laxative, diuretic, antidote to snake venom, expectorant and febrifuge. In folk and tribal medicine, the root of this plant is used during delivery to stimulate uterine contractions and promote the expulsion of the foetus. Crying babies are put to sleep by working mothers by making them to suck the breasts, which are smeared with the root-paste. Its roots contain resperine which is useful in insomnia. The root extracts are used for treating intestinal disorders, particularly diarrhoea and dysenteryand also used as anthelmintic.
- It’s juice is helpful in treatment of opacity of cornea.
- Root extract is useful in following conditions:
- Difficulty in seeing distant objects
- Slow heart rate
Extract of this plant is used since ancient time. Alexander the Great used this plant to cure his general Ptolemy I Soter of posioned arrow. Mahatma Gandhi took it as tranquilizer during his lifetime. Chemical constituent in this plant mainly resperine is used by pharmaceutical company from 1954 to 1957 to treat high blood pressure and for mental disorders including schizophrenia. It was also used in traditional Chinese medicine. Chinese name of this medicine was shégēn mù or yìndù shémù. The wood which is known as serpentwood is used as woodcarving and woodturning hobbyists.
Rauwolfia was first mentioned in literature in 1940 for its value in hypertension. Two years later, Bhatia reported that Rauwolfia is well-tolerated and useful medicine for treating high blood pressure. Wilkins and Judson have administered Rauwolifa to over 100 patients for periods of a month to a year. Resperine removes the store of noradrenaline from artery walls . This helps blood vessels to relax so that blood can flow more easily. It also slows heart rate.
It helps to control high blood pressure.
In clinical research it was found that depression is due to insufficient activity of monoamine in the brain. It was previously believed that Rauwolfia causes depression as it consists resperine. But it later on proved wrong. It was rather observed that resperine has calming effect. It is now used as anti depressent. Davies and Shepherd were the first to report that reserpine is an effective antidepressant in a randomized placebo-controlled trial.
As it contains yohimbine, it is used in sports supplements. Yohimbine is an antagonist to the alpha-2 adrenergic receptor. Alpha blockers work by keeping the hormone norepinephrine (noradrenaline) from tightening the muscles which causes the vessels to remain relaxed and improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Yohmbine has property to lower and increase systemic blood pressure depending on the dosage. It is also used in weight loss supplement.
Another constituent which is extracted from the bark of Pausinystalia yohimbe tree and from the Rauwolfia root is indole alkaloid rauwolscine. It is alos a selective antagonist of alpha-2 adrenergic receptors. Decreased alpha 2-adrenoceptor sensitivity may promote the breakdown of stored triglycerides in adipose tissue. Rauwolscine and yohimbine are also partial agonists for the human 5-HT1A receptor. They may induce serotonin-like effect. It helps to elevate one’s mood. Rauwolscine is also anaesthetic and may even possess aphrodisiac effects.
It also helps to lower the blood glucose level in some animals. It helps to improve carbohydrate and lipid balance in body.
It is small shrub which is native to the India to Sumatra. In 1952 resperine was isolated from its root and has since been used by western medicine as valuable drugs for treatment of high blood pressure.
Rauwolfia serpentina is Useful in following clinical conditions
- To reduce blood pressure.
- It has sedative action. It can be used as tranquilizer. It is very useful in treatment of depression.
- It is useful in schizophrenia.
Sarpagandha is included in Aparajit Gana which is indicated in mental disorder (susruta uttartantra 60/47). Sarpandha isalso included in Ekasar Gana (susruta kalpa 5/84) useful against visha and for treatment of musaka visha (susrtuta kalpa 7/29). Also use in treatment of Visuchika (vrindamadhava 6/26).
It is to appear in Sanskrit as an Ayurvedic medicine named Sarpagandha and Chandra. Chandra means moon and refers to the use of plant in the “moon diseases” or lunacy. Sarpagandha, snake’s smell or repellent, refers to the use as an antidote for snake-bite. Rbeede in 1686 probably mentioned this species, at least in part, under the name Tsjovanna (or Sjouanna) Amel-Podi; he noted the use of the root against snake-bite and the sting of scorpions. Kaempfer in 1712 described the plant and its curative properties under the name Radix Mungo. Burman in 1737applied the term Lignum ‘Colubrinum to it. Linnaeus in Materia Medica, 1749,used the pharmacopoeic appellation Serpentini Lignum. Rumphius named the plant Radix Mustelae, in reference to the legend that the mongoose has recourse to it when bitten by a poisonous snake; he stated that the species came to his notice in 1693. febrifuge, tonic, stomachic, sedative, soporific, eclampsia relief, cough-sedative, diuretic, purgative and anthelmintic. Trimen noted its use against hydrophobia. Dymock (1879) stated that in Bombay most of the laborers who camefrom southern Koncan kept a small supply of the root which they valued as a remedy in dysentery and other painful affections of the intestines. Roxburgh reported that it was administered to promote delivery in child-birth. Wightadded that it was supposed to act on the uterine system somewhat in the manner of Ergot. Khory stated the root was said to cause abortion if given to pregnant women. Rama Rao described the “whole plant dried in shade, powdered and given in honey as a remedy in rheumatism, allpoisons, insanity, epilepsy, fits and eczema. The juice of the fresh leaves has been mentioned for the treatment of corneal opacities” (Kapur). Dalzell and Gibson reported the plant used “to poison tigers “.
Homeopathic uses of Rauwolfia serpentina
It is suited to a person who has difficult concentration and confused. He wants to be alone. He is worse by mental exertion. He has of fear of evil. He has memory weakness and restlessness at night in bed. He is unfriendly.
- It is given when patient has bursting sensation of head.
- It cures blurring of eyes. It cures bleeding haemorrhoids and burning pains in urethra.
- Patient has copious urine.
- It cures dryness and nose congestion with flushing face at 6-8 p.m.
Dosage of Rauwolfia serpentina
Take 5 to 10 drops of tincture twice daily in the beginning and then take 1x, 2 drops daily for 15 days.
Reduce the dose as symptoms improve. If complaints are not relieved, consult a specialist.
- SBL Homeopathy Rauvolfia Serpentina 1X
- Schwabe Rauvolfia Serpentina 1x Tablet
- Dr. Reckeweg Rauwolfia Serpentina 1X (Q) Mother Tincture
- Rxhomeo Rauwolfia Serpentina