name = "Rauvolfia"

image_width = 240px
image_caption = "Rauvolfia sandwicensis"
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Gentianales
familia = Apocynaceae
genus = "Rauvolfia"
genus_authority = Plum. ex L.
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = About 85 species known.

"Rauvolfia" (also spelled "Rauwolfia") is a genus of evergreen trees and shrubs in the Apocynaceae family. The approximately 85 species in the genus can mainly be found in tropical regions. "Rauvolfia caffra" is the South African quinine tree. "Rauvolfia serpentina", or Indian Snakeroot or "Sarpagandha", contains a number of bioactive chemicals, including ajmaline, deserpidine, rescinnamine, serpentinine, and yohimbine. Reserpine is an alkaloid first isolated from "R. serpentina" which was widely used as an antihypertensive drug. It had drastic psychological side effects and has been now replaced by blood-pressure-lowering drugs that lack such adverse effects. But in herbal form rather than the form of isolated active ingredients, it is a safe and effective resource for hypertensive patients. The pharmaceutical companies have stopped producing this drug as reserpine or deserpedine, or any other form. It is only available currently in the U.S. via herbal medicine ordering, over the Internet.

Other plants of this genus are also used medicinally, both in conventional western medicine and in Ayurveda, Unani, and folk medicine. Alkaloids in the plants reduce blood pressure, depress activity of central nervous system and act as hypnotics.

Threat Status

The natural reserves of this plant are declining as a result of over-harvesting. IUCN has kept this plant under endangered status, and it is listed in CITES Appendix II.


Women who are pregnant, may be pregnant, or plan pregnancy in the near future should not ingest "Rauwolfia" plants or preparations made from them. They may also be harmful for people with any chronic disease of the gastrointestinal tract, such as stomach or duodenal ulcers, esophageal reflux (reflux esophagitis), ulcerative colitis, spastic colitis, and diverticulosis. No "safe" dosage has been established.

elected species

*"Rauvolfia caffra"
*"Rauvolfia canescens"
*"Rauvolfia micrantha"
*"Rauvolfia sachetiae"
*"Rauvolfia serpentina"
*"Rauvolfia tetraphylla"
*"Rauvolfia vomitoria"


*Lewis, W.H. and M.P.F. Elvin-Lewis. (2003). "Medical Botany". Hoboken: Wiley. pg 286

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rauvolfia — Rauvolfia …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rauvolfia — Schlangenwurz Rauvolfia sandwicensis Systematik Unterklasse: Asternähnliche (Asteridae) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Rauvolfia — ID 70695 Symbol Key RAUVO Common Name devil s pepper Family Apocynaceae Category Dicot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity N/A US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution FL, HI, PR, VI Growth Habit N/A …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • rauvolfia — noun any shrub or small tree of the genus Rauwolfia having leaves in whorls and cymose flowers; yield substances used medicinally especially as emetics or purgatives or antihypertensives • Syn: ↑rauwolfia • Hypernyms: ↑shrub, ↑bush • Hyponyms:… …   Useful english dictionary

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  • Rauvolfia — ▪ plant genus also spelled  Rauwolfia   genus of plants in the dogbane family (Apocynaceae), with 110 species of shrubs and trees native to tropical areas of the world. The flowers are small and usually white or greenish white in colour.… …   Universalium

  • Rauvolfia L. — Symbol RAUVO Common Name devil s pepper Botanical Family Apocynaceae …   Scientific plant list

  • Rauvolfia liberiensis — (ill. Matilda Smith, 1906) Rauvolfia liberiensis est une espèce de rauvolfia de la famille des Apocynaceae. C est une plante à fleurs des régions tropicales. Voir aussi Bibliographi …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rauvolfia serpentina — Rauvolfia serpentina …   Wikipédia en Français