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Rauvolfia: Wikis


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Rauvolfia sandwicensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Rauvolfioideae
Tribe: Vinceae
Genus: Rauvolfia
Type species
Rauvolfia tetraphylla L., 1753[2]

About 85 species known.

Rauvolfia (also spelled Rauwolfia) is a genus of evergreen trees and shrubs in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. The genus is named to honor Leonhard Rauwolf. The approximately 85 species in the genus can mainly be found in tropical regions. Rauvolfia caffra is the South African quinine tree.


Chemical constituents

Rauvolfia serpentina, commonly known as or Indian Snakeroot or Sarpagandha, contains a number of bioactive chemicals, including ajmaline, deserpidine, rescinnamine, serpentinine, and yohimbine.

Medicinal uses

Reserpine is an alkaloid first isolated from R. serpentina and was widely used as an antihypertensive drug. It had drastic psychological side effects and has been replaced as a first-line antihypertensive drug by other compounds that lack such adverse effects, although combination drugs that include it are still available in some countries as second-line antihypertensive drugs.

Other plants of this genus are also used medicinally, both in conventional western medicine and in Ayurveda, Unani, and folk medicine. Alkaloids in the plants reduce blood pressure, depress activity of the central nervous system and act as hypnotics.


R. serpentina is declining in the wild due to collection for its medicinal uses.[3] Consequently, it is listed in CITES Appendix II.[4]


Women who are pregnant, may be pregnant, or plan pregnancy in the near future should not ingest Rauvolfia plants or preparations made from them. They may also be harmful for people with any chronic disease of the gastrointestinal tract, such as stomach or duodenal ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (reflux esophagitis), ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticulosis. No "safe" dosage has been established.

Selected species


  1. ^ "Rauvolfia L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2003-03-14. Retrieved 2009-11-11.  
  2. ^ "Rauvolfia L.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2009-11-11.  
  3. ^ "India’s wild medicinal plants threatened by over-exploitation". International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2008-11-24. Retrieved 2009-11-11.  
  4. ^ "Appendices I, II and III". Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species. 2009-05-22. Retrieved 2009-11-11.  
  5. ^ Little Jr., Elbert L.; Roger G. Skolmen (1989) (PDF). Hao. United States Forest Service.  
  6. ^ "Subordinate Taxa of Rauvolfia L.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2009-11-11.  

General references

  1. Lewis, W.H. and M.P.F. Elvin-Lewis. (2003). Medical Botany. Hoboken: Wiley. pg 286


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Gentianales
Familia: Apocynaceae
Subfamilia: Rauvolfioideae
Tribus: Vinceae
Genus: Rauvolfia
Species: R. biauriculata - R. caffra - R. cambodiana - R. cubana - R. densiflora - R. grandiflora - R. ligustrina - R. mannii - R. nana - R. nitida - R. paraensis - R. sellowii - R. semperflorens - R. serpentina - R. sumatrana - R. tetraphylla - R. verticillata - R. viridis - R. vomitoria


Rauvolfia L.

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