Indian traditional medicine has used the root of the rauwolfia plant from ancient times as an antidote against snake and spider bites and to calm nervousness. Modern pharmaceutical research has discovered in this plant some valuable active components against high blood pressure, and at present, it is used in several pharmaceutical preparations.
Healing Properties and Warning
The root of the rauwolfia plant contains twenty different types of alkaloids, the most important of which is reserpine. It has hypotensive and nervous system sedative properties, all due to its depressive action on the subcortex and thalamic centers of the brain.
Rauwolfia is highly effective in the treatment of arterial hypertension, a common disease in the First World. It also renders good results in the case of persistent insomnia, psychosis, and other mental disorders. Another alkaloid of rauwolfia is ajmaline, which has anti-arrhythmia properties.
WARNING! Reserpine in rauwolfia is a very active alkaloid; thus, both the plant and its extracts must be used under medical supervision.
Rauwolfia Plant Scientific Facts
- French: Arbre aux serpents, rauwolfia.
- Spanish: Rauwolfia.
- Environment: Native to the tropical regions to Asia, especially to India, where it is farmed for medicinal purposes. At present, it is also cultivated in Central America.
- Description: Shrub of the Apocynaceae family, growing up to one meter high, with leaves with pinned ends and white or pink flowers growing in umbels.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The root.
How to use Rauwolfia
- Root powder: The medium dose is 100-200 mg twice a day. It should be taken dissolved in a gulp of water. The maximum dose is one gram a day.
- Pharmaceutical preparations based on rauwolfia. These medicines indicate the recommended dose.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 242. Print.