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Useful Tropical Plants

Rauvolfia serpentina

(L.) Benth. ex Kurz

Apocynaceae


The generic name is often mis-spelt as Rauwolfia[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Ophioxylon album Gaertn.

Ophioxylon obversum Miq.

Ophioxylon salutiferum Salisb.

Ophioxylon serpentinum L.

Ophioxylon trifoliatum Gaertn.

Rauvolfia obverse (Miq.) Baill.

Rauvolfia trifoliate (Gaertn.) Baill.

Common Name:

Rauvolfia serpentina
Inflorescence
Photograph by: Jayesh Patil
Creative Commons License
Rauvolfia serpentina Rauvolfia serpentina Rauvolfia serpentina Rauvolfia serpentina

General Information

Rauvolfia serpentina is an erect, evergreen shrub growing up to 1 metre tall from a yellowish rootstock.
The plant has been used medicinally in India for over 2,000 years, being valued especially for its sedative actions and ability to lower the blood pressure[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. It is commonly harvested from the wild and is also traded. It is a source of compounds that are used in the pharmaceutical industry.

Known Hazards

Although we have seen no specific information for this species, most if not all members of this genus contain poisonous alkaloids[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
746
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 43
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1956
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical publication, it includes a treatment of the genus Rauvolfia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.

Range

E. Asia - China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia.

Habitat

Montane forests at elevations of 800 - 1,500 metres in China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. Shady places in moist forests[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
]. Sunny or shaded places in well-drained rain forest and secondary thickets up to 2,100 metres, sometimes as a weed in sugar cane fields[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height1.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the moist to wet, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 4 - 35°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 3,500mm, but tolerates 1,100 - 4,500mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Succeeds in full sun and in light shade[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a fertile, well-drained loamy soil[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 5 - 7.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The roots can be harvested from plants that are 2 - 3 years old[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Average yield is 2 - 4 tonnes per hectare of air-dried roots per year after the third year[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
It is best adapted to a well-distributed rainfall. Mentioned as a useful agroforestry species.

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The roots are hypnotic, hypotensive and sedative[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. They are used particularly in the treatment of hypertension, where they are said to cause a lowering of the blood pressure without dangerous side effects[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
], and are considered a specific in the treatment of insanity[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. They are also used in decoction to treat painful affections of the bowels and to increase uterine contractions when giving birth[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The juice of the leaves is used to remove opacities of the cornea of the eyes and also to treat wounds and itches[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The bark, leaves, and roots are used against snake and scorpion poisoning[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].

The roots yield up to 1.3% medically active alkaloids, as well as oleoresin and the sterol serposterol[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].
The alkaloid rauwolfine has been shown to decrease the heart rate[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].
Several alkaloids, including serpentine, neoajmaline and isoajmaline, produce a fall in blood pressure[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. Serpentine also causes an increase in the tone of the small intestine and decrease in the peristaltic contractions of the intestine[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].
The alkaloid-free oleoresin extract from the roots produces sedative and hypnotic effects[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].
Reserpine, a highly active alkaloid, shows a very marked hypnotic effect and lowers blood pressure[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. It is used in allopathic medicine[
746
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 43
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1956
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical publication, it includes a treatment of the genus Rauvolfia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed -

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