Vol. 2, Issue 2 (2017)
Therapeutic uses of Rauwolfia serpentina
Author(s): Alka Rani Bunkar
Abstract: The root of Sarpgandha is a species of flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae has been traditionally used in Ayurveda for many years to treat a variety of diseases that at first thought appear to bear little similarity to one another. These include insanity, epilepsy, insomnia, hysteria, eclampsia and hypertension. On reflection, however, these various diseases could have a common denominator if they were all relieved symptomatically by a sedative or a ‘relaxing’ drug such as Rauwolfia. In the fifty decade, its root gained popularity for its effect on hypertension. The alkaloid found in its root is attributed to anti-hypertensive pharmacological action. Thus, initially serpine was isolated with an objective of predictable and better efficacy in the management of hypertension. Ayurveda believes in use of whole herb because of apparent benefits over the extract. The whole herb has many components which can: (1) Help in biotransformation into pharmacoactive forms (2) Enhance bioavailability (3) Reduce the possible side effects (4) Help in smooth excretion and (5) Prevent development of possible drug resistance. These hypothesis is proved to be true in case of Sarpagandha as Reserpine has reported many ADRs and also human population have developed drug resistance resulting in discontinuation of Reserpine in hypertension management whereas Sarpagandha root is still in wide use. The article will be review the concepts of whole herb and its extracts, published information in this regard in order to draw a possible suggestive conclusion for safe and effective use of sarpagandha.