Scientific name: Rauwolfia serpentinaPart used:
rootConstituent that helps lower high blood pressure: Reserpine, an alkaloid substance with powerful sedative effect found in the root.
Although this herb is best known for treating high blood pressure, it is used in Indian folk medicine as remedy for mental disorders too. The role of reserpine in reducing blood pressure can be described as follows. Dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), and noradrenaline are a group of hormones (neurotransmitters) known collectively as catecholamines
. These are produced in the adrenal glands and are released into the bloodstream in response to physical or emotional stress. Noradrenaline constricts the blood vessels increasing the blood pressure and adrenaline increases the heart rate and metabolism.
Reserpine works by significantly lowering catecholamines stores in adrenergic nerves and in the heart
. This slows down the heart rate and helps open up capillaries and arterioles which in turn cause a reduction in blood pressure.
The powdered root of Rauwolfia serpentina
contains not less than 0.15 percent of alkaloids calculated as reserpine. Studies conducted to determine the effect of R. serpentina
root on blood pressure found that the reserpine in the herb root is effective in mild to moderate hypertension. In a Cochrane review to investigate the dose related effect of reserpine on blood pressure, heart rate and withdrawals due to adverse events, the authors concluded that reserpine is effective in reducing systolic blood pressure approximately to the same degree as other first line anti-hypertensive drugs. Dose:
1-2 gm of Sarpagandha powder once a day.Side effects:
Side effects during treatment:
Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
Loss of appetite
Swelling of feet and lower legs
Nightmares or early morning sleeplessness
Side effects after stopping treatment:
Mental depression, nervousness or anxiety
Lack of energy or weakness
Impotence or decreased sexual interest
Irregular or slow heart beat