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Rauwolfia serpentina: Wikis


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Rauwolfia serpentina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Rauwolfia
Species: R. serpentina
Binomial name
Rauvolfia serpentina
(L.) Benth. ex Kurz[1]

Rauvolfia serpentina, or 'snakeroot' is a species of flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae.


Medicinal uses

It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it has the name shégēn mù (Chinese: ) or yìndù shémù (Chinese: ).

Rauvolfia serpentina contains a number of bioactive chemicals, including ajmaline, deserpidine, rescinnamine, serpentinine.

The extract of the plant has also been used for millennia in IndiaAlexander the Great administered this plant to cure his general Ptolemy of a poisoned arrow. It was reported that Mahatma Gandhi took it as a tranquilizer during his lifetime.[2] It, or a compound which it contains called reserpine, is used to treat high blood pressure and mental disorders including schizophrenia, and was particularly popular for that purpose in the West from 1954 to 1957.[3]

It has been used for millenia as an antidote against bites of reptiles.[3] It is also used to strengthen the heart of any living being[3]


Sarpagandha plant at Talkatora Gardens, Delhi

The wood, commonly known as serpentwood, is mildly popular amongst woodcarving and woodturning hobbyists.

See also


  1. ^ "Module 11: Ayurvedic". Retrieved 2008-02-11.  
  2. ^ Pills for Mental Illness?, TIME Magazine, November 8, 1954
  3. ^ a b c Sumit Isharwal and Shubham Gupta (2006). "Rustom Jal Vakil: His Contributions to Cardiology". Tex Heart Inst J 33 (2): 161–170. PMID 16878618.  

External links



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