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Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina) - Health Benefits, Uses, Medicinal Properties

Sarpagandha, Rauwolfia serpentina

(Ref: Bhavaprakasa Nighantu)


Ancient verse about Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina)

Roots of this herb just resembles like snakes. Sarpagandha is one major hypotensive herb of Ayurveda. Sarpagandha is very effective herb of Ayurveda that is famous for its medicinal properties of curing hypertension and nervous system related problems. Roots of this plant contains beneficial chemical compound called reserpine and pure extract obtained from the roots of this plant are used to treat multiple disorders.

This plant contains richest amounts of calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Roots of this plant aid with various nervous system related problems. It contains numerous bio-active chemical compounds but reserpine is the major bio-active compound that possess hypotensive properties and it is also used to cure various nervous system related problems. Roots are the major parts of this plant used to treat various health issues.

Plant Description

Rauwolfia is medicinal plant that belongs to milkweed family. It is evergreen plant and erect shrub that grows up to maximum height of 1meter and with pale bark. Bright green leaves of the plant are thin, acute, glabrous and lanceolate with pair of three whorls. This plant contains small long pinkish white flowers. Plant contains multiple fruits that are round, shiny and blackish-purple in colour. Maximum diameter of fruits are 0.5cm. Flowering season of this plant from the month of March to May. Roots of this plant are soft, tuberous and prominent taproots.


Rauwolfia serpentina is basically native to moist and deciduous forests of Southeast Asia. It is wildly distributed in India, Sri Lanka, Africa, South America, Burma, Bangladesh and Malaysia. In India it is found in sub-Himalayan tract up to height of 1,000 metres and it is distributed in Jammu, Himachal, Punjab, Sikkim, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam.


  • Latin Name - Rauwolfia serpentina
  • Hindi Name - Sarpagandha
  • English Name - Serpentine Wood, Indian Snake Wood
  • Sanskrit Name - Sarpagandha, Cahndramar
  • Bengali Name - Chandra
  • Kannada Name - Sarpaghandi, Chandrika
  • Bihar Name - Chandramarua, Isargaj
  • Telugu Name - Dumprasna, Patalagani
  • Gujarati Name - Amelpodi, Amelpadi
  • Tamil Name - Carpakanta
  • Marathi Name - Adkayi
  • Oriya Name - Sanochada
  • Malayalam Name - Amalpori, Tulluni
  • Urdu Name - Asrel
  • Chinese Name - Yindu Shemu
  • Burmese Name - Bongmaiza

According to Bhavprakash Nighantu:-

Ancient verse about Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina)

According to above mentioned verse of bhavprakash nighantu nakuli, sursa, naagsugandha, gandhnakuli, nakuleshta, bhujdrakshi, sarpangi and vishnashini are the various synonyms of herb Rauwolfia serpentina. This herb is astringent, bitter and pungent in taste and it has hot potency. It is used as best antidote for snake, scorpion, spider and mouse poisoning. It is used to treat fever, worms and ulcers.


The Bhavprakash nighantu with elaborated Hindi commentary of Padamshri Prof Krishna chander chunnekar and edited by Dr. Gangasahay Pandey: edition 2010; page number - 79 and verse number - 165 and 166.

Uses of Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia Serpentina)

  • Powder of roots of this herb is used to cure chronic fevers (jwara), gout (Aamvat) and joint pain (sandhi shoth). External paste of roots help to reduce excessive inflammation and pain of joints.
  • Root paste is also applied externally to reduce the poisoning of snake bite. Approximately 10-20gm Sarpagandha roots are used to cure snake poisoning.
  • For the patients of hypertension (rakta bhar) first herb used to treat is Sarpagandha. Initial dosage of this herb for hypertensive patients is 125mg to 1mg. continuous use of this herb for 6 weeks will give satisfactory results.
  • According to bhavprakash nighantu this herb is used to treat asthma (tamak shwaas), ulcerative colitis (svransuthoolanter shoth), kidney pain (vrikk shool) and mental depression (avsaad).
  • Sarpagandha with erandmool is used to cure severe abdominal pain.
  • Sarpagandha and kutja is used to treat bleeding diarrhoea (rakta atisaar).
  • Sarpagandha with maricha, ghodhavach, dikkemali, chirayta and vidalavana is used to treat chronic fever (jeeran jawara).
  • Pure extract obtained from this herb is used to cure dry eyes (netra shushka).

Health Benefits of Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia Serpentina)

  • Jawarhara - This beneficial herb of Ayurveda is used to treat fever. It is used to treat all types of fevers vata, pitta and kapha types of fever. It is used to relieve excessive sweating, thirst and burning sensation caused by fevers.
  • Garbhashay utejak - This herb also help to stimulate contractions of uterus and also help to excrete out impure blood after delivery. It is also good to cure various problems associated with menstruation.
  • Raktachap - It is very effective and natural remedy for treating hypertension. It help in lowering down raised blood pressure and this herb is first drug of choice for this harmful disorder. It also protect our heart from failure and strokes. It is goof for promoting overall health of cardiac system.
  • Vatik unmaad - Sarpagandha is one effective herb of Ayurveda used to pacify vata dosha. It is used to treat epilepsy that is vata dosha related disorder. It also used to treat other disorders that are caused by vata dosha in body.
  • Anidra - Iit is also used to treat insomnia. People who are facing difficulty in sleeping, Sarpagandha is best herb to treat this problem. This herb also works on associate symptoms of this problem like anxiety, stress and mental disorders.
  • Mansik vikaar - Sarpagandha is also best remedy for treating various psychological problems. It reduces high levels of stress, reduce anxiety and other disorders of brain.

Medicinal Properties of Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia Serpentina)

  1. Rauwolfia is very effective herb of Ayurveda that is known for its properties of lowering high blood pressure. It help to reduce raise blood pressure level in body naturally. Hypertension is basically result of blockage and excessive work load of arteries and veins. This herb help to treat both these reasons.
  2. It is also a wonderful medicine to aid with various skin problems. It help to treat skin irritation, rashes, inflammation, eczema, excessive itching and sweating.
  3. This herb of Ayurveda is also considered as natural nervine tonic. It help to aid with stress, anxiety, hallucination and epilepsy. Alkaloids present in this herb help to control the impulses of pathway of nervous system. Reserpine present in this plant help to cure mental illness.
  4. Anti-inflammatory nature of this herb help to reduce excessive inflammation and oedema of internal and external organs of body. It is also very effective herb for rheumatic sufferers.
  5. Root paste of this herb is used to reduce poisoning caused by scorpion, spider and mouse bites.
  6. It help to regulate menstruation and also good to increase both flow and volume of blood flow in menstruation. In men this beneficial herb help to fight against premature ejaculation.
  7. Numerous alkaloids present in this herb help to stimulate the activities of digestive system and it help to neutralize the harmful effects hydrochloric acid present in the gut.
  8. Anti-bacterial properties of this herb help to fight against infection causing microbes.
  9. External paste of roots are used to treat burning sensation caused by sunburns.
  10. It is also good for the sufferers of constipation and other digestive system related issues.


Powder - 1-2 gm for therapeutic uses.

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Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan


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