Sarpagandha

Botanical Name : Rauvolfia tetraphylla

Family : Apocynaceae

Morphology : A small, much-branched woody shrub, 0.6-1.2 m high. Leaves whorled, ovate-elliptic. Flowers greenish-white or creamy-white in umbellate cymes. Fruits (drupes) ovoid, deep red or purple when ripe; seeds oblong, rugose.

 Uses :

The latex, roots, leaves, bark and fruits are all used in traditional medicine in S. America.The roots are frequently used in India as a substitute of Rauvolfia serpentina for medicinal purposes.The latex in the plant is said to be cathartic, diuretic, emetic and expectorant.  It is used for treating dropsy and various other diseases. It is applied to granulated eyelids


The plant is commonly used in the treatment of malaria in Guatemala, where it is also one of the reputed remedies for snake bites

The plant contains two alkaloids, to which the names Chalcupine A and B have been given

The plant is a good source of the alkaloid reserpine, which is used in making allopathic medicines. It is harvested commercially for this purpose


The roots yield the alkaloid deserpidine, which is an antihypertensive and tranquilizer

Research work :

C. T., S., C.K., J., Unnithan, J. et al. Identification of suitable substitute for Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. ex Kurz) by phytochemical and pharmacological evaluation. Beni-Suef Univ J Basic Appl Sci 9, 42 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43088-020-00069-5

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