Herbs & Plants

Sorpogandha(Rauvolfia serpentina)

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Scientific Name: Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. ex Kurz. (Syn. Ophioxylon sepentinum L.)

Family :Apocynaceae
Parts Used : Root, Leaves

English Name: Rauvolfia root, serpentine
Trade Name: Serpentine Roots

Common (Indian) Names:
Assamese: Arachoritita
Bengali: Chandra
Hindi: Chandrabhaga, Chota-chand, Sarpagandha
Canarase: Sarpangandha, Sarpagandhi, Shivanabhiballi, Sutranavi, Patalagandhi
Malyalma: Churannavilpori, Suvapavalporiyam
Marathi: Harkaya: Harki
Patalagarur, Sanochado
Sanskrit: Sarpagandha, Chandrika, Patalguruda
Tamil: Chevanamalpodi
Patalaguni, Patalagaruda, Sarpagandha

Family: Apocynaceae

Habitat: Moist forests shady places near rain-forest.

Description:Rauvolfia serpentine is a small glabrous shrubby plant with 2-3 feet height. Leaves are broad, lanceolate, nerves slender, glabrous. Flowers are umbelli form cymes, numerous and petals color is light pink. Found all over the country. Sandy-loam to clayed-loam acidic soils is better for its growth. It is prefer tropical and subtropical climate.
Present Status: The natural reserves of this plant are declining, especially after reports of its medicinal properties appeared in literatures. International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has kept this plant under endangered status.

Distribution: The snake-weed genus includes about 50 species, this has fairly wide area of distribution, including the tropical part of the Himalayas, the Indian peninsula, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Indonesia.

Related Species
Rauvolfia tetraphylla L. (Syn. R. canescens L.; R. heterophylla Roem. and Schult.). In Hindi, it is named Barachandrika. Found in Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala states of India. Native to West Indies. Its roots are often used as an adulterant of R. serpentina.

Rauvolfia vomitoria Afzel. and R. caffra. Both are African species. Having medicinal properties similar to R. serpentina but with low total alkaloid content and also low in serpentina.

Botany: An erect perennial shrub with a long, irregularly, nodular, yellowish root stock.

Leaves: In whorls of 3, thin, lanceolate, acute, bright green above and pale beneath.

Flowers: in irregular corymbose cymes, white, often tinged with violet.

Fruit: Drupe, single or didymous, shining black, the inflorescenece with red pedicels and calyx and white corolla.

Flowering Time: March to May in Indian conditions.

Natural Components: The root contains ophioxylin (an alkaloid having orange colored crystalline principle), resin, starch and wax. The total alkaloid yield is 0.8%. Five crystalline alkaloids isolated are ajmaline, ajmalicine, serpentine, serpentinine, and yohimbine.

Useful Parts: Roots and leaves.

Medicinal Properties and Uses:Leaves stem and roots are used as medicine. Juice of root is very useful as sedative, reducing blood pressure, painful affection of bowels, diarrhea, dysentery, cholera and fever.

Used  in Snake-Bite, Rheumatism,Hypertensive, Poison, Insanity,Epilepsy, Eczema, Leaves used in removal of opacities of the cornea.

According to Ayurveda root is bitter, acrid, heating, sharp, pungent and anthelminic. Drug Rauvolfia consists of air-dried roots. Rauvolfia preparations are used as antihypertensive and as sedative. It is also used for the treatment of various central nervous system disorders associated with psychosis, schizophrenia, insanity, insomnia, and epilepsy.

Ayurvedic Preparations:
Sarpagandha ghanavati, sarpagandha yoga, Sarpagandha churna, Mahesvari vati etc.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Cultivation: This plant is under cultivation in India, Sri Lanka, and Java. Experiments on cultivation are in progress in the United States.

Cultivation method: It is becoming a threatened species. Seeds of this plant are used for propagation. Now a day, in foreign countries propagated it through root, cutting and in vitro systems. Mature and dried seeds are possible to store up to six months. Before sowing seeds are pretreated by soaking water for 24 hours. Germination commences within 3-4 weeks. Five to six months old seedlings are better for transplantation.

Propagation : Seed, Stem cuttings

Climate: it grows luxuriantly well where the rainfall is 2500 mm or more. The areas having more equable climatic variations seem to be more suited than the areas having higher climatic variations.

It prefers soil with plenty of humus and rich in nitrogenous and organic matter with good drainage. Alkaline soils are not suitable for commercial cultivation.

Propagation: Can be propagated both through seeds and vegetatively, but propagation by seed is preferred.

Seed Rate: 10 kg/ha.

Generally organic cultivation is practiced. Initially before sowing 10–15 tonnes of farm yard manures/ha are used.

45 × 30 cm.

Plant Protection: Serious and major infestation of any insect of diseases have not been reported.

Maturity Period: 3 Years. At this time the subaerial parts dry and main root reach a depth of 0.9 meters


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