The generic name is often mis-spelt as Rauwolfia[
Rauvolfia canescens L.
Rauvolfia heterophylla Willd.
Rauvolfia hirsuta Jacq.
Rauvolfia odontophora Van Heurck & Müll.Arg.
Rauvolfia subpubescens L
Rauvolfia tomentosa Jacq.
Rauvolfia tetraphylla is usually a much-branched shrub growing up to 1 metre tall, but sometimes becoming a small tree up to 4 metres tall[
]. The plant contains a copious white latex[
The plant is often gathered from the wild for local medicinal use and as the source of a dyestuff and ink. It has been introduced into India, China and Vietnam where it has been experimentally cultivated as a substitute for R. Serpentaria in medicinal use[
]. It is grown as a commercial source of the alkaloid reserpine, used in allopathic medicine[
The fruit is generally considered to be poisonous[
S. America - Peru, Colombia, Colombia, Venezuela and French Guiana, north to the Caribbean and through Central America to Mexico.
Wet to dry thickets, often in second growth or in waste ground or old fields, usually at elevations below 500 metres, but also extending to 2,000 metres in Guatemala[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Succeeds in full sun to partial shade, preferring a rich, well-drained soil. The plant is known to flourish equally well in much-exposed, sunny, sandy soils near the seashore and also in wet and marshy, shady grasslands at elevations of about 2,000 metres[
The plant can commence flowering in its first year from seed[
]. It can flower and fruit almost all year round[
The latex, roots, leaves, bark and fruits are all used in traditional medicine in S. America[
]. The roots are frequently used in India as a substitute of Rauvolfia serpentina for medicinal purposes[
The latex in the plant is said to be cathartic, diuretic, emetic and expectorant[
]. It is used for treating dropsy and various other diseases[
]. It is applied to granulated eyelids[
The plant is commonly used in the treatment of malaria in Guatemala, where it is also one of the reputed remedies for snake bites[
The plant contains two alkaloids, to which the names Chalcupine A and B have been given[
The plant is a good source of the alkaloid reserpine, which is used in making allopathic medicines. It is harvested commercially for this purpose[
The roots yield the alkaloid deserpidine, which is an antihypertensive and tranquilizer[
A black dye is obtained from the fruit[
The juice from the fruit is used as a substitute for ink[
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