RAUWOLFIA SERPENTINA




Botanical name                   Rauwolfia sepentina  Benth. ex. Kurz.
Family                                  Apocynaceae
Common names
Bengali                                  Sarpagandha
English                                   Sepentina, Snake root
Hindi                                      Chhotachand
Malayalam                              Sarpagandhi
Sanskrit                                   Sarpagandha
Tamil                                       Chivanmelpodi
Occurrence & Distribution
Grows in waste places and in shady forests in different parts of India  from Punjab eastwards to Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Assam, also in certain parts of Central India and Western Ghats
Description
Glabrous under shrub. Leaves in whorls of 3 or 4 rarely opposite, shining green above, pale beneath, elliptic- lanceolate or obovate acute or acuminate. Inflorescence many flowered cymes. Corolla salver shaped, tube cylindric, white with red tinge, mouth constricted  , throat usually hairy within. Fruits obliquely ovoid drupes, purple black when ripe. Seeds ovoid. Root finger sized, thick,. On breaking it is circular with centripetal lines. Roots are haphazard and 48 cms long
Flowers and fruits almost throughout the year but chiefly during February
Parts used                              Roots
Chemical constituents
Arachidic, lauric, linoleic, myristic, oleic, palmitic, stearic, alkaloids – Indoles-  ajmalicidine, ajmalicine, corynanthine, deserpidine, indobine, indobinine, rescinnamidine, rescinnamine, rescinnaminol, renoxidine, reserpiline, reserpine, sarpagine, serpentine, serpentinine, yohanabinine, , yohimbine, Indolines- ajmalimine, ajmaline, ajmalinimine, ajmalinine, isoajmaline, rauwolfinine, sandwicolidine, sandwicoline, tetraphyllicine,  serposterol, b-sitosterol and its 7- dehydro derivative and serpoterpene
Therapeutic uses
Leaves- Juice applied to remove corneal opacities
Root- Decoction employed to increase uterine contractions and for expulsion of foetus in difficult cases, the extract is particularly used for intestinal disorders . It is anthelmintic, bitter tonic and febrifuge, . The total extract of the root induces bradycardia, hypotension, sedation, and produces tranquillizing effect. Used in hypochondria , neuropsychiatric disorders , psychosis and schizophrenia
Reserpine was found to be the most active principle responsible for the antihypertensive and tranquillizing properties of the plant. The other alkaloids like ajmalicine, deserpidine, rescinnamine and serpentine also show similar properties with reduced activity, Ajmaline in combination with other hypotensive agents, is used in the treatment of hypertension complicated with arrhythmia
Formulations- Sarpagandhadi churna, Sarpagandha yoga, Sarpagandha vati


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