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What are the health benefits of Rauwolfia Serpentina (Snakeroot)?

Rauwolfia Serpentina, commonly known as “Sarpgandha” in Sanskrit and otherwise, snakeroot, is a flowering plant and belongs to the Apocynaceae family. It is also spelled as Rauvolfia and it grows in an evergreen environment. The plant is named in honor of Leonhard Rauwolf. It consists of various bioactive chemicals such as aricine, aimaline, deserpidine, corynanthine, reserpine, yohimbine, serpentinine, isoreserpine and much more.

Origin: In India, the extracts of the Rauwolfia Serpentina has been used for millennium especially when Alexander the Great found out that the bioactive chemicals in the extract can be utilized in the treatment of his poisonous arrow. Another same story occurred when Mahatma Gandhi consumed it as a tranquilizer during his whole lifetime.

Medicinal Usage: Reserpine is an alkaloid and widely employed as an antihypertensive medicine. It has been substituted as a first-line anti-hypertensive medicine which had extreme psychological side effects, although the amalgamation of various drugs is reason behind the usage of snakeroot in the second-line anti-hypertensive tablets. It is widely used in folk medicine, Unani and Ayurveda. The alkaloid in the plants lowers down the blood pressure.
Reserpine, a compound in Rauwolfia Serpentina is also employed in treating mental disorders like schizophrenia, high blood pressure. Also, it has also been used as an antidote in opposition to the bites of venomous reptiles. When it is consumed after refining, it can be used to treat hypertension, dysentery, painful infections of intestinal canal. Sankeroot is also available in powdered form which is made up of Rauwolfia Serpentina Benth. It contains not less than 0.15% and not more than 0.2% of Reserpine-rescinnamine group alkaloids. It is categorized by slow onset of action and continuous effect both for the nervous system and cardiovascular organs of the body.

Research Facts and Figures: According to Teichmann and Vogel, 1980, many patients who have taken medicines to control hypertension still finds problems in balancing because of difficulties in circulatory regulations. Research found out that only Indian Snakeroot does not give unnecessary impact on balance. As per Weiss in 1988 and Shibuya and Sato in 1985, the mechanism of action of Indian Snakeroot changes from most other blood-pressure lowering agents which act upon the central nervous system. Again, According to the Report by Huang in 1999, the Chinese Study done on 200 patients with moderate hypertension, Indian Snakeroot lowers the blood pressure by 30-40% with minimal side effects. Rauwolfia root has confirmed extremely effectual 89% in case of chronic hives.

Pregnancy: Women, who are pregnant or are planning for it, may not consume Rauwolfia Serpentina plant or anything that consists of it as an ingredient.
Stomach Problems: It is also advisable for the patients who are suffering from chronic disease of gastrointestinal tract likewise gastroesophaegal reflux disease or reflux esophagitis, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and diverticulosis.
Breast Feeding: When Rauwolfia Alkaloid mixes with the breast milk then, it may bring unwanted side effects like low temperature, difficult breathing, loss of appetite in the newborns of mothers taking large dosage of Rauwolfia alkaloid because of which doctor’s consultation is necessary if the plant is given to women who are breast-feeding their children.
Dizziness: Drowsiness may attack more likely to aged people who are more sensitive to the side effects of Rauwolfia Serpentina containing alkaloid.
Allergies: It is also not suitable for the people suffering from various allergies such as preservatives, animals or food dyes. Again, it is suggested to view the ingredient list in case of allergies.

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