11:16 am - Tuesday October 24, 2017

Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia Serpentina)

sarpagandhaSarpagandha is a strong remedy for reducing blood pressure, sedating the nervous system and inducing sleep. Sarpagandha means ‘smell of the snake’ and it is renowned as an antidote for poisonous snake bites.

Common name Rauwolfia (E), Indian snake root (E) Sanskrit Sarpagandha Latin Rauwolfia serpentina–Radix (Apocynaceae)

ENERGETICS

  • Rasa (taste) Bitter
  • Vırya (energy) Hot
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect) Pungent
  • Guna (quality) Dry, light
  • Dosa effect VPK−
  • Dhatu (tissue) Blood, nerve, reproductive
  • Srotas (channel) Mental, nervous, circulatory, reproductive

CONSTITUENTS

Indole alkaloids Reserpine, rescinnamine, resperpinine, ajmaline

(WHO 1999, Williamson 2002)

AYURVEDIC ACTION

  • Aparajita Alleviates insanity
  • Nidrajanana Promotes sleep
  • Sulaprasamana Pain relieving analgesic
  • Dıpana Enkindles the digestive fire
  • Amapacaka Digests ama toxins
  • Visaghna Destroys poisons
  • Krmighna Anthelmintic
  • Hrdaya Treats the heart

BIOMEDICAL ACTION

Sedative, nervine, carminative, hypotensive, vasodilator, cardiotonic, alterative, antispasmodic, analgesic

INDICATIONS

Nerves 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. It is a wonderful brain tonic going directly to manovahasrotas (Gogte 2000).

Heart 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. If the dose is wrong it can cause hypotension and lead to giddiness and sleepiness. It is a symptomatic 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 and to support its antihypertensive effect (WHO 1999, Tillotson 2001).

Pain Its analgesic properties are useful in dysmenorrhoea with a spasmodic uterus and also in colic from intestinal inflammation and spasm (Gogte 2000).

COMBINATIONS

* Jatamamsi, brahmi, licorice, gotu kola in nervous conditions.

* Arjuna, cardamom, rose in high blood pressure and palpitations.

* Turmeric, fennel, ginger in pain.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Pregnancy, breast-feeding, asthma, ulcers, kidney pain and depression.

SAFETY

Do not use with alcohol, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), beta-blockers or MAO inhibitors, levodopa, tricyclic antidepressants, or digoxin, as they may interact with or potentiate the herb. Sarpagandha can cause diarrhoea, low libido and weight gain in larger doses.

DOSAGE

250–750mg per day powder or 2–12 drops of a standardized tincture (1.0% weight/volume total alkaloids) (Tillotson 2001).

NOTES

  • Sarpagandha is a thin shrub growing up to 1m in height. It grows all over India and Sri Lanka.
  • It is an exceptionally powerful herb and must be used with caution and only when true high blood pressure or tension is diagnosed.
  • Check the legal status of using this herb as it is subject to various rulings in different countries. It is banned for use in the UK unless prescribed by a doctor.
  • Only use under the guidance of a trained herbalist as misuse can cause severe reactions.
  • It has a controversial reputation due to the isolated alkaloid reserpine causing such strong side-effects. The whole root is much safer.
  • It is CITES Appendix 2 listed and must be sold with the appropriate trade documents.
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One Response to “Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia Serpentina)”

  1. Prakash
    July 2, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    I was dignosed with high BP and under went for stenting in August 2010

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