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Rauwolfia Serpentina, Indian Snakeroot

Rauwolfia Serpentina - Herbal Research:
A WHO Organization resource - Full Report

Medicinal uses supported by clinical data

The principal use today is in the treatment of mild essential hypertension (16– 22). Treatment is usually administered in combination with a diuretic agent to support the drug's antihypertensive activity, and to prevent fluid retention which may develop if Radix Rauwolfiae is given alone (18).

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and in traditional systems of medicine

As a tranquillizer for nervous and mental disorders (4, 5).

Uses described in folk medicine, not supported by experimental or clinical data

As a tonic in states of asthenia, a cardiotonic and antipyretic; against snake and insect bites; and for constipation, liver diseases, flatulence, insomnia, and rheumatism (8).


4. Reynolds JEF, ed. Martindale, the extra pharmacopoeia, 30th ed. London, Pharmaceutical Press, 1993.
5. Hänsel R, Henkler G. Rauwolfia. In: Hänsel R et al., eds. Hagers Handbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, Vol. 6, 5th ed. Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 1994:361–384.
8. Farnsworth NR, ed. NAPRALERT database. Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL, March 15, 1995 production (an on-line database available directly through the University of Illinois at Chicago or through the Scientific and Technical Network (STN) of Chemical Abstracts Services).
16. Physicians' desk reference. 45th ed. Montvale, NJ, Medical Economics Company, 1991.
17. Goodman and Gilman's the pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 8th ed. New York, Pergamon Press, 1990.
18. American Hospital Formulary Service drug information 94. Bethesda, MD, American Society of Health System Pharmacists, 1994.
19. Bein HJ. The pharmacology of Rauwolfia. Pharmacology review, 1956, 8:435–483.
20. Vakil RJ. A clinical trial of Rauwolfia serpentina in essential hypertension. British heart journal, 1949, 11:350–355.
21. Wilkins RW, Judson WE. The use of Rauwolfia serpentina in hypertensive patients. New England journal of medicine, 1953, 248:48–53.
22. Kline NS. Use of Rauwolfia serpentina Benth. in neuropsychiatric conditions. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1954, 59:107–132.



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