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Medicinal Plants part 2 BSc 3rd Year


Rauvolfia serpentina
English: Indian Snakeroot
Indian names: Sarpgandhi (Hindi), Sarpgandha (Sanskrit)
Family: Apocynaceae
It is known as serpentwood.
It is native to India.
In India, it is cultivated in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu Orissa, Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
In India, it has become an endangered species.
Erect, evergreen, perennial shrub.
Roots give a serpent like appearance.
These are greenish yellow externally and pale yellow inside.
Flowers are numerous and borne on terminal or axillary cymose.
Corolla tubular, 5-lobed, 1-3 cm long and whitish-pink.
Stamens are 5, epipetalous.
Carpels are 2, connate and style filiform, with large bifid stigma.
Fruit is a drupe, purplish black in colour, at maturity contains 1-2 ovoid wrinkled seeds.

Chemical Constituents
Root and Bark:
Alkaloids like reserpine, ajmaline, ajmalicine (raubasine), ajmalicine,, rauwolscine, sarpagine, serpentine, serpentinine, and deserpidine.

Used as sedative and to treat high blood pressure.
Reserpine group comprising serpine, rescinnamine, deserpine etc. act as hypotensive, sedative and tranquillising agent.
loserpine has a depressant action on central nervous system and produces sedation and lowers Mood pressure.
Ajmaline, ajmalicine, ajmalinine, iso-ajmaline etc of the ajmaline group stimulate central nervous system and respiration Serpentine group comprising serpentine, sepentinine, dnonine etc. is mostly antihypertensive.
Decoction of roots is employed to increase uterine contraction and it is recommended during child birth.


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