SARPAGANDHA, Rauwolfia serpentina


Latin name: Rauwolfia serpentina

English names: Rauwolfia, Indian snakeroot, Snakeroot

Sanskrit name: Sarpagandha

Medicinal parts used: Roots

Sarpagandha or ‘snakeroot’ is a species of flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae. It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it has the name shégēn mù or yìndù shémù.

Sarpagandha is an evergreen, perennial, glabrous and erect undershrub grows up to a height of 60 cm. It grows in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand.

According to Ayurveda, it is the best among all anti-hypertensive drugs.

Therapeutic use:

  • Rauwolfia is a valuable remedy in treating insomnia because of its sedative properties.
  • Rauwolfia plant is highly beneficial in treating insanity, mental illness and traumas.
  • Rauwolfia is useful in treating hysteria.
  • Hindus used this plant for centuries as a febrifuge and as an antidote to the bites of poisonous reptiles like snakes.
  • It was also used to treat dysentery and other painful affections of the intestinal canal.
  • Some believed it caused uterine contraction and promoted the expulsion of the fetus.
  • It was also mentioned as a stomachic that cures fever.
  • In the western parts of India, the root was used as a remedy for painful affections of the bowels.
  • With Aristolochia it was given to cure cholera; with Holorrhena antidysenterica and Jatropha curcus given in colic; with Andrographis paniculata it was given for fever.
  • This herb is highly effective in the treatment of high blood pressure.

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