Sarpagandha, also known as Rauvolfia serpentina, the Indian snakerootdevil pepper, or serpentine wood, is a specie of flower in the milkweed family Apocynaceae. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and East Asia (found in India, Pakistan, Thailand and Burma). Rauvolfia is a perennial undershrub widely distributed in India in the sub-Himalayan regions up to 1,000 metres.

Sargandha, known for its medicinal value— is the source of the phytochemical, reserpine, which has been used in the treatment of systolic hypertension, although its dose-response effects remained uncertain from limited clinical research.

Sarpagandha flowers

Traditionally, Sarpagandha has property to balance vata and pitta dosha. It is astringent, bitter, hot in potency and pungent in smell. The roots and leaves of sarpagandha are used for treating many diseases and abnormalities. Listed below  are some benefits of this magical herb—

1. Heart health: Sarpagandha is known to control blood pressure. It also dilates blood vessels thus, maintains all round heart health.

2. For stress and anxiety: This herb is very beneficial to people experiencing stress and anxiety. Its tranquilizing and calming effect helps patients going through insomania, hysteria and hypertension. It is being used by many Himalayan tribes for years for treatment of a number of mental disorders including epilepsy and schizophrenia.

3. For snake and insect bites: Sarpagandha detoxifies poison of snakes, spiders and scorpios and manages fever, wound and worm infestation.

4. ‎For skin related problems: skin problems like psoriasis and itching can be relieved using sarpagandha extracts.

5. ‎In regulating Menstrual cycles:  Sarpagandha when mixed with black pepper and ginger can be used to regulate periods.

6. ‎Diabetes: Sarpagandha help reduce blood sugar and also alleviates secondary manifestations of the disease.

7. ‎For Headache: In many states including West Bengal and Rajasthan the herb is used for the treatment of headache.

8. ‎For Asthma: Fresh sarpagandha root juice or powder extract from its roots can cure Asthma and other respiratory diseases.

9. ‎For treatment of fevers: This herb can be used in treatment of  fever caused as a result of malaria or pneumonia.

10. ‎Sarpagandha for cancer: It is proven to be effective in reducing the multiplication and spread of prostate cancer.


Safety caution: Sarpgandha may cause adverse effects by interacting with various prescription drugs or via interference with mechanisms of mental depression or peptic ulcer. The reserpine in R. serpentina is associated with diverse adverse effects, including loss of apetite, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, anxiety, or hypersensitivity reactions. Also it can cause swelling in lower legs and feet.

Did you know?

Mahatma Gandhi used to sip sarpagandha tea to relax after a day of hard work.


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