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Sarpagandha in Ayurveda: Natural Solution for Hypertension


Hypertension has become very popular that in every house out of three two people are suffering from this. The most important fact about hypertension is that People do not consider this as a disease and they think that it happens to everyone and there are no consequences to it. They think we are taking the medicines (Antihypertensive) and the blood pressure is also normal so we are totally fine. But they are beware of the fact that these BP medications will put their life in danger if taken for a longer period of time. What is the solution then??? Here Ayurveda comes! Today I am going to introduce one herb mentioned in ancient ayurvedic texts which lowers the blood pressure without showing any adverse effects. We will also learn about its other benefits and its effect on various body systems.

Sarpagandha, Natural Remedies For Sarpagandha BP

Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia Serpentina)

Saragandha also known as 'Indian snakeroot' distributed in the foothills of Himalaya. It is named as sarpagandha because it has long tapering snake-like roots. It is one of the best herbs for lowering down the high blood pressure as it has an amazing alkaloid reserpine which has a tranquilising effect.

Classical reference - Bhavprakash nighantu Page no- 79

Classical Reference - Bhavprakash nighantu Page no. - 79

Classical Synonyms

  • Chandramara - Helps to calm the mind or relaxes it.
  • Vishamardhini - Acts as antidote of various poisons.
  • Dhawalvitapa - Due to its cleansing and purifying effect on body and mind.
  • Sarapgandha – Which keeps snakes away or punishes them.

Vernacular Names

  • English - Serpentina root, Indian snake root
  • Hindi - Chota chand, Nakulikand, rasna bheda
  • Gujarati - Amelpodi, Norbal
  • Marathi - Adakayi, Harki
  • Tamil - Carpakanta, Milpadi, Civan amalpodi
  • Bengali - Chander, Chander Nolbel, Gandharasna

History of Sarpagandha

Sapargandha has a more fascinating history. This plant is mentioned in ancient classical texts in 1000-800 BC. A very famous story about sarpagandha is that the mongoose would chew its leaves first for gaining strength before its fight with cobra. Sarpagandha is also known as "Paglon ki dawa" as it is widely used in patients suffering from mental health issues.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Phylum - Tracheophyta
  • Class - Magnoliopsida
  • Order - Gentianales
  • Family - Apocynaceae
  • Genus - Rauvolfia
  • Species - Serpentina

Description Of Plant

Sarapgandha is an erect perennial shrub that grows up to 60 cm in height with tuberous pale brown colour roots. Leaves of sarpagandha are bright green coloured and are slender and tapering in nature with long petioles. Flowers are red, white and pinkish in colour usually seen from March to May in India. Roots are 40 cm long with 2 cm thickness, nodular twisted and looks like a snake.


It is found in Tropical Himalaya in the foot of hills from Sirhind to Sikkim. Sarpagandha is also available in Burma, Sri Lanka, Java, Thailand etc.

Chemical Constituents

Most of the alkaloids are found in roots but in small quantities also available in stem and leaves. There are 3 types of alkaloids found as mentioned below

1. Weakly Basic Indole Alkaloids

  • Reserpine
  • Rescinnamine
  • Despiridine

2. Indoline Alkaloids of Intermediate Basicity

  • Reserpiline
  • Ajmaline
  • Iso-Ajmaline
  • Rauwolfinine

3. Strong Anhydronium Bases

  • Serpentine
  • Serpentinine
  • Alsotonine

Pharmacological Properties

  • Rasa (Taste) - Tikta (Bitter)
  • Guna (Physical property) - Ruksha (Dry)
  • Veerya (Potency) - Ushna (Hot potency)
  • Vipaka (Post digestion effect) - Katu (Pungent)
  • Prabhava (Special effect) - Nidrajanan (Induces sleep)
  • Effect on tridosha – Pacifies Vata and kapha Dosha

Properties of Sarpagandha

  • Bhogilutavrishchikakhuvisha (Snake, Spider and Scorpion Bite)
  • Krimihan (Deworming agent)
  • Vranropaka (Wound Healer)
  • Nidrakar (Induces sleep)
  • Garbhashya uttejaka (Uterine stimulant)
  • Poshtik (Nutritious)
  • Uccharaktachapp (High blood pressure)
  • Mansik Vikara (Neurological or psychosomatic disorders)
  • Anidra (Insomnia)
  • Bhrama (Vertigo)
  • Unmada (Insanity)
  • Apasmara (Epilepsy)
  • Shoola (Pain)
  • Agnimandya (Low appetite)
  • Raktvata
  • Sirogatavata

Medicinal Properties

  • Antihypertensive
  • Cardiodepresant
  • Vasodilation
  • Hypnotic
  • Sedative
  • Tranquilizer
  • Antihelminthic
  • Anti Inflammatory
  • Antipyretic
  • Antidiarrheal
  • Analgesic

Actions Of Sarapgandha On Different Systems

  • Central Nervous System - It induces sleep Due to pacifying vata dosha property it is shamak (Calming in nature) thus very effective in unmada (Insanity), apasmara (Epilepsy)
  • Digestive System - Increases Pitta dosha due to its hot potency and deworming agent due to its pungent taste.
  • Circulatory System - It is antihypertensive in nature (Due to its active alkaloid reserpine) and has a strengthening effect on the heart.
  • Reproductive System - It is a stimulant, strengthens uterine muscles tonicity and induces menstruation due to its hot potency.

Special Use Of Sarpagandha

  • Amaja Vibandhashoola (Constipation pain occurs due to Accumulating toxins) - 1 part sarpagandha, 2 part kutaja bark, 3 parts eranda moola is to be consumed.
  • In Unmada - 1 gm of sarpagandha root powder is to be taken with 250 ml goat milk.
  • Decoction of sarpagandha is to be used in increasing uterine contractions for expulsion of foetus

Modern Overview

Sarpagandha in High Blood Pressure!

Sarpagandha is the world's first herb used as Antihypertensive with no side effects if taken in raw form because its roots contain an amazing alkaloid named Reserpine (a lipid soluble alkaloid) and has ability to cross the blood brain barrier thus slows down the nervous activity, heart rate and cardiac output resulting in diminished peripheral resistance and low pressure in the arteries.

Sarpagandha in Psychosomatic Disorders!

Sarpagandha is widely used in management of Psychosomatic disorders as its active alkaloid acts on cerebral centres and calms the brain activity and also corrects the signalling pathways by secreting adequate amounts of neurotransmitters thus useful in management of Insanity, Depression, Schizophrenia and hysteria.

Sarpagandha in Prostate Cancer!

Sarapgandha root extract contains an active alkaloid named Alstonine (Compound of ß-carboline alkaloid family) which reduces the tumour cell growth and restricts the cell signalling pathways. Alstonine also has the ability to restrict the tumour cell growth by reducing the production of free radicals in prostate cancer cells.

Sarpagandha in Snake Bite!

Sarpagandha has a great effect in managing spread of snake poison as it has some active constituents like D-glucuronic acid, gallic acid, Reserpine, oleic acid. These compounds inhibit snake venom enzyme activity i.e phospholipase A2 inhibition, L-amino acid oxidase inhibition , ATPase inhibition and result in positive outcomes. The reason behind this may be that the root extract blocks the receptors which are prone to chemical attack or reaction and also shields an active site of snake venom.

Part Used

Roots (Especially dried in shadow)


  • 1-2 gms for Antihypertensive effect
  • 2-6 gms for Inducing sleep
  • 3-6 gms in Insanity

Special Classical Formulations

  • Sarpagandhadi Churna
  • Sarpagandha Yoga
  • Sarpagandha Ghan Vati


In a nutshell, it has been concluded that Sarapagandha is a herb of choice in patients suffering from Hypertension, Insanity and many others without any adverse effects on the body. Moreover this herb contains an amazing active alkaloid named Alstonine which works amazingly in managing prostate cancer and alleviates the production of free radicals. So embrace ayurveda and live a healthier or happy life.

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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan


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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan


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