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Rauvolfia serpentina

  (Redirected from Rauwolfia serpentina)

Rauvolfia serpentina, the Indian snakeroot or devil pepper, is a species of flower in the family Apocynaceae. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and East Asia (from India to Indonesia).[4][5]

Rauvolfia serpentina
Rauvolfia serpentina in Kudayathoor.jpg
CITES Appendix II (CITES)[1]
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Rauvolfia
Species: R. serpentina
Binomial name
Rauvolfia serpentina
(L.) Benth. ex Kurz[2]
  • Ophioxylon album Gaertn.
  • Ophioxylon obversum Miq.
  • Ophioxylon salutiferum Salisb.
  • Ophioxylon serpentinum L.
  • Ophioxylon trifoliatum Gaertn.
  • Rauvolfia obversa (Miq.) Baill.
  • Rauvolfia trifoliata (Gaertn.) Baill.
Rauvolfia serpentina 11.JPG
Rauwolfia serpentina at talkatora gardens delhi.jpg
Rauvolfia serpentina

Rauvolfia is a perennial undershrub widely distributed in India in the sub- Himalayan tracts up to 1,000 m as well as the lower ranges of the Eastern and Western Ghats and in the Andamans.


Vernacular namesEdit

English: serpentine wood[6] Bengali: Chandra; Hindi: Chandrabagha, Chota chand; Kannada: Patalagondhi, Sarpagandhi, Shivavabhiballi, Sutranavi; Malayalam: Chuvanna-vilpori, Suvapavalforiyan; Marathi: Harkaya, Harki; Oriya:Patalgaruda, Sanochada; Tamil: Chivan amelpodi; Telgu: Paataala garuda, Paataala goni; Urdu: Asrel.[7] indonesia : pule pandak;

Chemical compositionEdit

Rauvolfia serpentina The plant contains 200 alkaloids of the indole alkaloid family. The major alkaloids are ajmaline, ajmalicine, ajmalimine, deserpidine, indobine, indobinine, reserpine, reserpiline, rescinnamine, rescinnamidine, serpentine, serpentinine and yohimbine.[8]

Traditional medicineEdit

The extract of the plant has been used for millennia in India.[citation needed] Alexander the Great administered this plant to cure his general Ptolemy I Soter of a poisoned arrow.[citation needed] It was reported that Mahatma Gandhi took it as a tranquilizer during his lifetime.[9] The plant contains reserpine, which was used as a pharmaceutical drug in Western medicine from 1954 to 1957 to treat high blood pressure and mental disorders including schizophrenia.[10]

It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it has the name shégēn mù (Chinese: ) or yìndù shémù (Chinese: ).

Other usesEdit

The wood, commonly known as serpentwood, is mildly popular amongst woodcarving and woodturning hobbyists.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Appendices". Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  2. ^ "Module 11: Ayurvedic". Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  3. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  4. ^ eFloras. "Rauvolfia serpentina". Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Oudhia, P. and Tripathi, R.S. (2002). Identification, cultivation and export of important medicinal plants. In Proc. National Seminar on Horticulture Development in Chhattisgarh: Vision and Vistas. Indira Gandhi Agricultural University, Raipur (India) 21-23 Jan. 2002:78-85.
  6. ^ "Rauvolfia serpentina". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ SerpentinaDB
  9. ^ Pills for Mental Illness?, TIME Magazine, November 8, 1954
  10. ^ Sumit Isharwal and Shubham Gupta (2006). "Rustom Jal Vakil: his contributions to cardiology". Texas Heart Institute Journal. 33 (2): 161–170. PMC 1524711 . PMID 16878618.