Rauwolfia is an erect herb with a smooth stem. It is used as febrifuge or fever relieving drug. Rauwolfia root contain several alkaloids, the more important being two chemical classes known as the ajmaline and the serpentine group. The quantity of the total alkaloids has been estimated to be fairly high in the dried roots.
The roots of rauwolfia also contain a lot of resin and starch and when incinerated leave an ash consisting mainly of potassium carbonate, phosphate, silicate and traces of iron and manganese. The drug consists of the dried roots with their bark intact, preferably collected in autumn from three or four year old plants.
Botanical Name: Rauwolfia serpentina
Indian Name: Sarpagandha
Below are some of the medicinal properties of rauwolfia:
- Rauwolfia is a valuable remedy in treating insomnia because of its sedative properties. The very first dose of rauwolfia enables the patient of a phlegmatic and gouty nature to go to sleep. About 0.6 to 1.25 grams of the powder of its root is mixed with some scented vehicle and taken. It is non-stimulating and should be given in doses of 0.25 grams to the patient at bedtime for sound sleep. A chronic patient should take 0.25 grams, both in the morning and at night before retiring.
- The rauwolfia plant is highly beneficial in treating insanity. One gram of powdered root can be taken twice a day with 250 ml of goat's milk, sweetened with sugar candy. Everyone suffering from insanity will not however be benefited by rauwolfia, except those extremely irritable patients with strong physique. Lean, weak and melancholic patients should have their blood pressure examined before the treatment and if found abnormally high, rauwolfia can be tried. As such it is unsuitable for those with a low blood pressure.
- Rauwolfia is useful in treating hysteria. One gram of powdered root can be administered thrice with milk. Treatment should be continued till a complete cure is obtained.
- The herb is the best remedy for high blood pressure and it has been adapted by medical fraternity in most countries, especially American countries. Those alkaloids which have a direct effect on hypertension have been isolated in it and are widely used by the practitioners of modern medicine. But they have certain unpleasant side effects which the drug taken in its raw form, does not have. Half a teaspoon of its powder taken thrice a day is effective in relieving hypertension.
- It relieves itching in urticaria. One gram of powdered root can be taken with water.