Sarpagandha - Indian snakeroot. Rauvolfia serpentina high blood pressure with warnings and side effects

Note: 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.

Sarpagandha is also known as RauvolīŦa serpentina (Scientific Binomial Name), Indian snakeroot / Devil-pepper (Common English), Sarpagandhaa / Naakuli (Ayurvedic), Chhotaa Chaand (Unani), Chandrabagha / Chota chand (Hindi / Urdu), Chivan amelpodi (Tamil), Harkaya / Harki (Marathi), Chandramara / Dhavalavitapa (Sanskrit), (Bengali), Paataala garuda / Paataala goni (Telugu), Patalagondhi / Sarpagandhi / Shivavabhiballi / Sutranavi (Kannada), Chuvanna-vilpori / Suvapavalforiyan (Malayalam). Sarpagandha is a thin shrub growing up to 1m in height. It grows all over India and Sri Lanka.

Sarpagandha, Rauvolfia serpentina and Indian Ayurveda

Sarpagandhaa of Ayurvedic texts was not the Sarpagandhaa of modern medicine. In classical Ayurvedic texts, Nakuli and Gandha-naakuli were included in compound formulations for mental diseases. It is a wrong notion that Rauvolfia serpentina has been employed in India for the relief of various central nervous system disorders, both psychic and motor, including anxiety states, excitement, maniacal behaviour associated with psychosis, schizophrenia, insanity, insomnia and epilepsy. There is no mention of Sarpagandhaa in Charaka Samhitaa. Sarpagandhaa was equated with Naakuli, Sarpachhatrikaa and Varshaasu Chhatrikaaraa. Sarpagandhaa and Sarpasugandhaa were synonyms of Naakuli. Sushruta considered Naakuli and Sarpagandhaa as one drug. Rauvolfia serpentina, as a medicinal plant, was first recorded in Europe in 1785 but its efficacy was not screened until 1946. It was tried in modern medicine to lower high blood pressure and for controlling symptoms of mental illness.

Sarpagandha Health Benefits

Indian snakeroot - Sarpagandha contains powerful alkaloids (reserpine), which is helpful for blood pressure treatment and heart function. Sarpagandha has been used traditionaly to treat hypertension especially when associated with stress and anxiety. Sarpagandha root decoction is employed to increase uterine contractions and for expulsion of foetus in difficult cases. The total alkaloidal extract of the root induces bradycardia, hypotension, mild hypertension, sedation. It finds application in hypochondria, neuropsychiatric disorders, psychosis and schizophrenia.

Indian Snakeroot for High Blood Pressure

Sarpagandha is a strong remedy for reducing blood pressure, sedating the nervous system and inducing sleep. Sarpagandha literally means snake smelling and it is renowned as an antidote for poisonous snake bites. Use of sarpagandha is banned in many countries. Especially in UK it is either banned, off limits to herbalists or dosage is regulated. 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 is a wonderful brain tonic and benefits insomnia and agitation. Reserpine, a main contain found in root and bark, is hypotensive and tranquilizer, used for certain forms of mental disorders. Sarpagandha combines well with Arjuna, cardamom, rose to benefit in high blood pressure and palpitations. Herbal combination of Indian Snakeroot made with jatamamsi, brahmi, licorice, gotu kola helps in nervous conditions.

Sarpagandha Side Effects

Due to possible serious effects, Rauvolfia serpentina should be taken under the careful supervision of a physician trained in its use. It is an exceptionally powerful herb and must be used with caution and only when true high blood pressure or tension is diagnosed. Sarpagandha can cause diarrhoea, low libido and weight gain in larger doses.

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