Sarpagandha (Indian snakeroot) – Rauwolfia Serpentina Benefits & Uses

Sarpagandha, or Rauwolfia Serpentina, is an ayurvedic medicine used in the management of high blood pressure and psychological diseases such as depression. It can also be used to treat insomnia and fever. The use of this herb is beneficial for the women suffering from painful menstrual cycles.

Indications, Uses & benefits

The health benefits of this medicine are as follows:

Hypertension

Sarpagandha is commonly prescribed to the patients suffering from hypertension. It reduces the blood pressure and prevents the complications of hypertension such as heart attacks and stroke. The alkaloids present in this herb produce a direct effect on the blood vessels, resulting in their relaxation. This helps to reduce the pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of the arteries and controls hypertension.

The root of this herb contains an enzyme called Reserpine, which attaches to a substance called Vesicular Monamine Transporters. Reserpine also blocks the uptake of norepinephrine by the secretory vesicles. It also causes depletion of catecholamines and serotonin from the nerve endings.

The combined effect of this action results in the depletion of neurotransmitters in the nervous system and a reduction of the transmission of nerve impulses. As a result, the sympathetic nerve functions are suppressed leading to decreased blood pressure and heart rate.

This action of Rauwolfia Serpentina is beneficial for the patients with hypertension. The blood pressure reducing the action of this herb lasts for several days to weeks. Hence, the patients can benefit from the long-lasting effect of this herb.

Also, Resperine used in the modern medicines is known to cause a few side effects. However, this enzyme is present in Rauwolfia Serpentina in its crude and natural form due to which the risk of its side effects is reduced significantly.

Additionally, Resperine is present in Rauwolfia Serpentina along with a few other alkaloids, which help to balance the adverse effect of this enzyme. Thus, Resperine in Rauwolfia Serpentina can help to reduce blood pressure in an effective manner without causing any serious side effects.

Skin diseases

Sarpagandha can be used to urticaria. Urticaria appears as well-circumscribed, raised areas of redness and swelling on the skin. The most common symptom of this disease is intense itching. This herb relieves itching and redness of the skin caused due to Urticaria.

This herb can also be used to treat skin infections. It acts as a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent. This helps in the destruction of the organisms causing the infection. This herb acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. This action helps to reduce redness and swelling of the skin caused due to the infection.  Hence, Sarpagandha is commonly used to treat wounds, boils, acne, eczema, and cellulitis.

Depression

Sarpagandha is commonly used in the management of depression. It is beneficial in relieving the symptoms of psychological disturbances such as frequent mood changes, restlessness, anxieties, loss of interest in daily activities, and suicidal thoughts. It can also reduce the irritability, sleeplessness, and aggressiveness occurring in the initial phase of depression.

Sarpagandha also acts as a sedative agent. This action prevents the disturbing thoughts occurring in the minds of patients passing through a difficult situation thereby preventing depression.

The sedative action also allows the person to have a sound sleep. The loss of sleep can worsen the symptoms of depression and also affect the general health of the patients. The sedative action of Sarpagandha prevents these complications by treating sleeplessness.

This herb also possesses hypnotic, antipsychotic, and anti-anxiety properties. It helps to reduce fear and anxieties thereby preventing worsening of the depression symptoms.

Insomnia

Sarpagandha possesses sedative properties. Hence, it is useful for treating insomnia. Sleeplessness caused due to factors such as stress, depression, and the hyperactivity of the mind can be managed well by using this herb. Sarpagandha also produces a mild hypnotic effect, which helps to induce sleep.

Fever

The use of Sarpagandha is beneficial for the treatment of fever. This herb produces a powerful antipyretic action, which helps to reduce even a high-grade fever. Patients with high fever often experience symptoms like confusion, irritability, hallucinations, and convulsions. Rauwolfia Serpentina prevents these symptoms by quickly bringing down the body temperature.

It can be used to treat acute and chronic fever caused due to several diseases like typhoid, viral fever, bronchitis, and pneumonia. It can alleviate the symptoms accompanying fever such as loss of appetite, tiredness, and an abnormal bitter taste in the mouth.

This herb also helps to treat the causes of fever including bacterial, and viral infections.  It produces an antibacterial and antiviral action, which help to eliminate the infective organisms.

The anti-inflammatory action produced by this herb helps to protect the respiratory passages against damage in the patients suffering from fever due to bronchitis and pneumonia. This action can help to prevent the excessive production of mucus in the respiratory passages thus reducing cough, breathlessness, and congestion that usually accompany fever caused due to the respiratory infections.

Uterine pain

Sarpagandha is specifically used to treat uterine pain occurring after a miscarriage. The pain usually occurs due to the inability of the uterus to expel the residues from the uterine cavity, Sarpagandha stimulates the contractions of the uterine muscles. This helps to eliminate the residues and toxins from the uterine cavity.

Later, it causes relaxation of the uterine muscles. This helps to reduce the bleeding and cramps in the lower abdomen.

Dysmenorrhea

Sarpagandha can be used by the women who suffer from dysmenorrhea or painful menses.  It reduces the pain in the lower abdomen occurring during the menstrual cycles. It works by modulating the blood flow into the pelvic region before and during menstruation thereby preventing excessive congestion.

It also produces an antispasmodic action, which relieves the abdominal cramps. It causes relaxation of the muscles in the uterus thus providing relief from dysmenorrhea. It may be used to treat the symptoms accompanying dysmenorrhea such as bloating, and nausea.

Dysentery

Sarpagandha is effective in the treatment of dysentery. It reduces the frequency of loose motions. It also helps to prevent the bleeding and mucus discharge during defecation. It also alleviates the abdominal pain accompanying dysentery.