RAUVOLFIA SERPENTINA (L.) Benth. ex Kurz.

Family: Apocynaceae

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Sarpagandha, Chhoto Chadar, Chhoto Chand, Chandra.

Tribal Name: Bhomara (Chakma); Bowmba Raja (Tanchangya); Badap, Durakmi (Garo).

English Name: Snake-root.

Description of the Plant:
A small erect shrub, up to 0.9 m high. Leaves in whorls of 3, 7.5-18 cm long, lanceolate, acute or acuminate, glabrous. Flowers white, in many-flowered irregular corymbose cymes; pedicels and calyx, bright red. Corolla 1-1.3 cm long; tube slender, swollen a little above the middle. Drupes single or didymous, about 6 mm diam., purplish black when ripe.

Using Information:
Roots are sedative, tonic and febrifuge. It is a valuable remedy in high blood pressure; used for the treatment of insomnia,  madness, painful affections of the bowels, hypochondria and irritative conditions of the central nervous system. Roots have been employed for centuries for relief of various nervous disorders like anxiety, excitement, schizophrenia, insanity, insomnia and epilepsy. Root extracts are also valued in diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, colic and fever. Decoction is employed to increase uterine contractions and promotes expulsion of the foetus. The dry root bark crushed and administered in small doses in body pain and fever in Jointiapur of Sylhet. Root paste along with orange peel is used against fever by the tribal in Madhupur. They also use root or leaf juice against piles and as a remedy for sterility in women (Yusuf et al. 2009).

Chemical Constituents:
Roots contain some 50 indole alkaloids including the therapeutically important reserpine, deserpidine, rescinnamine and yohimbine. Some of the other alkaloids are ajmaline, ajmalinine, ajmalicine(δ-yohimbine), serpentine, serpentinine, isoajmaline and neoajmaline. Besides the alkaloids substantial amounts of rutin have been found in the roots (8.3%), stem bark (2.8%) and leaves (1.5%) of this plant. Oleoresin and a sterol, serpasterol, oleic acid and unsaturated alcohols have also been found in this plant. Root also contains 0.22% essential oil with chief terpene constituent serpoterpine (Ghani, 2003; Chopra et al., 1992).


RAUVOLFIA SERPENTINA
RAUVOLFIA SERPENTINA (L.) Benth.


Distribution:
In most of the places of Bangladesh as under growth.


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Retutn to Medicinal Plants: Part Q-R