Rauwolfia serpentina (Sarpagandha) Medicinal herb uses and pictures

Sarpagandha (snakeroot) Medicinal herb uses

Rauwolfia serpentina (Sarpagandha) also know as Black snakeroot or Indian snakeroot or devil pepper, an evergreen plant, has been in use since 4000 years in Indian medicine. An erect under-shrub, it is a species of flowering plants. The leaves are 7-10cm long, spear-shaped. The flowers are 1 inch long, white and violet. It contains nectar at the deep of the corolla tube. The blooming time is in the month of August and September. The root is branched and tuberous. It is used as a useful herb in the Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathy treatments.

Sarpagandha Rauwolfia serpentina plantSarpagandha Plant

Common name

Black snakeroot / Indian snakeroot

Botanical name and family

Botanical name- Rauwolfia serpentina

Family- Apocynaceae

snake root plant root imageSarpagandha root

Useful Guduchi products

Healthvit Sarpagandha 250 Mg 60 Capsules

Geological distribution of Rauwolfia serpentina

The plant grows well in highly acidic and neutral soil. In India, it is seen in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, MP, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab, Sikkim and other North East regions. It is also reported in China and South East Asia. Different species of it are also reported in South America, Europe, Africa and Australia.

serpentina flowers (snakeroot)Serpentina Flowers

Medicinal use of serpentina

Rauwolfia serpentina is composed of many chemical compounds like Reserpine, Serpentine and Ajmalacin. In 1931, five chemical compounds were isolated by scientists from it. The presence of alkaloid in it is believed to cure many kinds of neurological problems. It is seen in history the use of Sarpagandha by Alexander the Great to cure poisoned arrow. Mahatma Gandhi also took this in his lifetime as a tranquilizer. The plant contains more than 50 different alkaloids which belong to the monoterpenoid indole alkaloid family. The major alkaloids are ajmaline, ajmalicine, ajmalimine, deserpidine, indobine, indobinine, reserpine, reserpiline, rescinnamine, rescinnamidine, serpentine, serpentinine and yohimbine.

  • It is used for the treatment of high blood sugar. Hence called as universal medicine for lowering blood pressure.
  • It cures insomnia, hysteria and hypertension. Rauwolfia is found beneficial in relieving hysteria. One gram power of root can be taken 3 times with milk everyday.
  • It is also useful for in the treatment of cataract.
  • It also cures plague and fever.
  • Sarpagandha is used for the treatment of Schizophrenia.
  • It is used in different countries as a sedative and tranquilizer.
  • Rauwolfia serpentina is believed to cure anxiety, psychosis and epilepsy.
  • It is also quoted for the treatment of colic and cholera.
  • The root is used for the difficult childbirth.
  • It is used to stimulate uterine contraction.
  • It is used in various part of the world for the treatment of snake (cobra), scorpion or reptile bite and stings of any poisonous insects.
  • The mixture of this with ginger and black pepper regularizes menstruation.
  • The extract is also used against dysentery since ages.
  • It is used in the treatment of hypochondria, mental disorders and a certain form of insanity. Its also know as Medicine for the mentally upset people and majorly sold in Bihar and UP. This herb is very beneficial in relieving insanity. Patients should take blood pressure examination before taking this drug.
  • Rauwolfia serpentina has also been in use in the treatment of intractable skin disorder such as psoriasis, excessive sweating and itching.
  • It is also used against irregular heart action in old ages.
  • Sarpagandha also cures toxic goitre.
  • It is also useful some gynecological problems like frigidity and moliminia.
  • It also balances Vata and pitta in the body
  • Sarpagandha is also used for rheumatism, edema and intestinal diseases.
  • It is also used against constipation and dizziness.

Sarpagandha fruitSarpagandha fruit

Rauwolfia serpentina does not have any quotation of curing cancer or liver diseases. Rather it has dangerous side effects and increases cancer cells. So, it must be taken under strict medical supervision. It is also good to avoid the use of Sarpagandha. This herb is not advisable to pregnant ladies.

In patients with heart arrhythmia, myocardial dead tissue or extreme cardiovascular harm, bronchitis, asthma or gastric ulcer, reserpine has a generally low lethality, however even the base helpful measurements may offer ascent to nasal blockage, dormancy, sleepiness, impossible to miss dreams, vertigo and gastro-intestinal surprises; in some cases dyspnea and urticarial rash may happen. Higher dosages may bring about flushing, infusion of conjunctivae, sleep deprivation, bradycardia, periodically parkinsonism, and serious mental despondency which may prompt suicide. Instances of asthenia and edema have additionally been accounted for. Symptoms of reserpine are typically transient and rapidly vanish on decreasing the measurements or ending treatment.