Description : Commonly known as sarpagandha in hindi and rauwolfia, this herb is very erect with a smooth stem. The drug consists of the dried roots with their bark intact, preferably collected in autumn from three or four year old plants.
Sarpagandha, also known as Rauwolfia serpentina (Rauvolfia serpentina) or black snakeroot is one of the very important Ayurvedic herbs. It is used in treating high BP, lack of sleep (insomnia) etc.
CHARACTERISTICS : Rauwolfia particulary belongs to India, though the name refers to a 16th century German botanist and physician, Leonard Rauwolfia.
This herb is believed to have been used in Indian system of medicine for about 4,000 years and the same is also mentioned in Charaka’s work. Its roots have been valued in India and Malayan peninsula as an antidote for the bites of poisonous reptiles and insects, since ancient times. It also helps in relieving fever.
In Modern era, this herb was introduced by Dr. Ganpath Sen and Dr. Kartik Chandra Bose, renowned physicians of Calcutta (India). According to them, the roots of this herb contain several alkaloids, the more important being two chemical classes known as the ajmaline and the serpentine group. The quantity of the total alkaloids has been estimated to be fairly high in the dried roots. The roots also contain a lot of resin and starch and when incinerated, leave an ash consisting mainly of potassium carbonate, phosphate, silicate and traces of iron and manganese.
Health and Other Benefits of Sarpagandha :
- Sarpagandha is used for the treatment of paranoia, schizophrenia, and hypertension.
- In serpant bite, the powder of Sarpagandha roots is given orally, as well as, applied on the site of bite
- It relieves itching in Urticaria
- Specially in snake bite, it is extensively used as antidote
- The Rauvolfia herb is the best remedy for high blood pressure and it has been adapted by medical fraternity in most countries
- It relieves tension, anxiety and worry and fat people especially find it effective. Whenever a patient is extremely irritable and is behaving in an unruly manner, Sarpagandha has been found effective. However, it should be used with great care in the case of the debilitated, or those habitually depressed.
- It relieves constipation in the case of patients suffering from hypertension as also headache. While it is used, a little chill or cold, and sometimes sneezing, may be observed in some cases.
- Sarpagandha’s sedative properties are legendary. It nourishes majja dhatu and reduces vatato benefit insomnia and agitation. It is also used in manic psychological disturbance as a sedating tranquilliser.
- Its affinity for the blood takes it directly to the heart. It swiftly dilates the blood vessels, causing high blood pressure to drop and the heart rate to reduce. Use drop-by-drop doses until the blood pressure has reduced.
- It is a symptomat+ic remedy that treats the high blood pressure via the nervous system and so benefits high blood pressure caused by high vata and arteriosclerosis. It should be used with a diuretic to prevent fluid retention.
- Sarpagandha can cause diarrhoea, low libido and weight gain in larger doses.
- Because of Ushna Virya and Tikta Guna Sarpagandha acts as an appetizer, digestive, cholagogue, anthelmintic, hence it is used in loss of appetite, helminthiasis etc.
- Sarpagandha reduces the heart rate and dilates blood vessels with lowering of blood pressure. Because of this special property of reducing the blood pressure, it is a universally known medicine for high blood pressure.