Rauvolfia is a perennial undershrub widely distributed in India in the sub- Himalayan tracts up to 1,000 m as well as the lower ranges of the Eastern and Western Ghats and in the Andamans.
English: serpentine wood Bengali: Chandra; Hindi: Chandrabagha, Chota chand; Kannada: Patalagondhi, Sarpagandhi, Shivavabhiballi, Sutranavi; Malayalam: Chuvanna-vilpori, Suvapavalforiyan; Marathi: Harkaya, Harki; Oriya:Patalgaruda, Sanochada; Tamil: Chivan amelpodi; Telgu: Paataala garuda, Paataala goni; Urdu: Asrel. indonesia : pule pandak;
Rauvolfia serpentina The plant contains 200 alkaloids of the indole alkaloid family. The major alkaloids are ajmaline, ajmalicine, ajmalimine, deserpidine, indobine, indobinine, reserpine, reserpiline, rescinnamine, rescinnamidine, serpentine, serpentinine and yohimbine.
The extract of the plant has been used for millennia in India. Alexander the Great administered this plant to cure his general Ptolemy I Soter of a poisoned arrow. It was reported that Mahatma Gandhi took it as a tranquilizer during his lifetime. The plant contains reserpine, which was used as a pharmaceutical drug in Western medicine from 1954 to 1957 to treat high blood pressure and mental disorders including schizophrenia.
An effective remedy to treat gastro-intestinal ailments, Rauvolfia serpentine is also used as a cure for acne.
The wood, commonly known as serpentwood, is mildly popular amongst woodcarving and woodturning hobbyists.
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