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Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. ex Kurz

Synonyms: Ophioxylon serpentinum L.

Group: Dicot
Family: Apocynaceae - Dogbane family
Duration: Perennial
Growth Habit: Undershrub

Bangla/Vernacular Name: Sarpagandha, Chhoto Chadar, Chhoto Chand, Chandra.

Tribal Name: Surshan (Chakma), Bumaraja (Marma), Kayamusiba (Marma), Braymaraya (Khumi), Bauma Raja (Bawm), Kayamusiba (Rakhaing), Bhomara (Chakma), Bowmba Raja (Tanchangya), Badap (Garo), Durakmi (Garo).

English Name: Snake-root, serpentine wood.

Description of the Plant:

An undershrub. Leaves whorled, elliptic-lanceolate, acute or acuminate at apex. Flowers purplish-white, in umbellate cymes. Drupes obliquely ovoid, purplish black when ripe.

Chemical Constituents:

Roots contain some 50 indole alkaloids including the therapeutically important reserpine, deserpidine, rescinnamine and yohimbine. Some of the other alkaloids are ajmaline, ajmalinine, ajmalicine(d-yohimbine), serpentine, serpentinine, isoajmaline and neoajmaline. Besides the alkaloids substantial amounts of rutin have been found in the roots (8.3%), stem bark (2.8%) and leaves (1.5%) of this plant. Oleoresin and a sterol, serpasterol, oleic acid and unsaturated alcohols have also been found in this plant. Root also contains 0.22% essential oil with chief terpene constituent serpoterpine (Ghani, 2003; Chopra et al., 1992).

Mode of Uses:

A paste prepared from the leaves and fruits of Ixora villosa and Rauvolfia serpentina is taken for abdominal pain; a leaf extract of both Rauvolfia serpentina and Cissampelos pareira var. hirsuta is applied to the head for the treatment of coma and the root extract of Rauvolfia serpentina is taken to treat high blood pressure (Chakma).

Extract prepared from leaf taken two or three tea spoonfuls twice or thrice daily until cured to treat diarrhoea. A root extract is taken with salt for the treatment of coughs and constipation (Marma).

Extract prepared from root is taken twice a day for seven days for the treatment of high blood pressure, abdominal pain, diarrhea and dysentery (Khumi).

Extract prepared from root is taken for the treatment of stomach pain (stomachache) and also to stop vomiting (Bawm).

Extract prepared from root, taken one tea spoonful twice daily for three days for the treatment of insomnia and high blood pressure (Rakhaing).


In most of the places of Bangladesh as under growth.

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