pink-white blossoms on long green leaves
Rauwolfia serpentina
[Rauwolfia serpentina]

Rauwolfia serpentina: The gift to blood pressure

The medicinal importance of snake root was only recognized in the West in the 18th century. In its native India, it has been valued in traditional medicine for much longer. In the past, it was used as a panacea for snake bites, poisoning and blood pressure regulation disorders. Mahatma Ghandi is also said to have loved it for its anti-anxiety properties and consumed it regularly.

Facts about Rauwolfia

Did you know that...

Rauwolfia takes its name from an important botanist?

it prefers a location between 800 and 1200 meters above sea level?

The epithet 'serpentina' refers to the special serpentine shape of the root?

What is Rauwolfia serpentina?

Rauwolfia is an evergreen, upright-growing dwarf shrub. It grows up to 100 centimetres tall and is related to plants such as Vinca Minor or Strophanthus. Its small white to red, star-shaped flowers are striking. Its stems are surrounded by a light brown, smooth bark and produce a white milky sap.
The root of the plant is snake-shaped, very brittle and glass-like hard. Medicines are extracted from it and the active ingredients are also isolated. First green, then red and finally black, egg-shaped, pea-sized drupes form on the red fruit stalks of the bush.

General information and healing properties of snake root

The basic knowledge

Blood pressure lowering

Rauwolfia lowers blood pressure. Its alkaloids act directly on the central nervous system and the blood vessels. They relax and dilate the blood vessels so that blood pressure returns to normal.


Snake root is calming. It has a relaxing effect on the nervous system and brings the body back into rhythm. Tensions are reduced, muscle twitches disappear and the processes in the body can run in a balanced way again.


Rauwolfia has a decongestive effect. If the blood circulation does not function properly, other processes can also become congested. For example, the body forms hemorrhoids and digestion becomes sluggish. Rauwolfia stimulates the usual flow so that the blood can flow again in its usual rhythm and the subsequent problems disappear.

Rauwolfia: Ingredients

The main active ingredients are alkaloids that accumulate in the root.

  • Yohimbine
  • Reserpine
  • Rescinnamine
  • Ajmaline
  • Deserpidine

Rauwolfia serpentina: effect on body and mind

In fact, Rauwolfia has been the center of attention for several years. People are particularly interested in the plant's blood pressure-lowering effect. However, it also has a strong influence on the Digestion and all other rhythmic circulatory processes. Psychologically, it has a calming and slightly anxiety-relieving effect, especially if it is associated with a perceived loss of rhythm. The mental state usually fluctuates between excessive irritability and performance on the one hand and complete exhaustion on the other.

Properties of snake root

  • invigorating
  • rhythmizing
  • antihypertensive
  • soothing
  • stress-relieving
  • regulates digestion

Fields of application in naturopathy:

[Rauwolfia serpentina]

Rauwolfia is not considered a polychrest and is more of a specific condition. The main focus is on problems associated with the circulatory system.

Snake root for digestive problems

Some digestive problems are not necessarily related to the digestive glands such as the gall bladder and liver. Disorders in the circulatory system can also lead to poor digestion, as the blood flow does not follow its normal path. Rauwolfia regulates the blood pressure and heart rhythm and ensures that the blood flow is harmonious and no disturbances occur in the gastrointestinal tract.

Rauwolfia for blood pressure disorders

Rauwolfia is mainly used to treat blood pressure disorders. With its centrally active alkaloids, it regulates and balances the nervous system and thus helps to ensure that cardiac strength and vascular tone remain at a normal, balanced level. Blood pressure settles within a normal range, which is partly individual, and stabilizes.

Rauwolfia serpentina under stress

Anti-Stress is often accompanied by a loss of rhythm. You can no longer sleep, feel palpitations or can no longer go to the toilet normally. With its cocktail of active ingredients, Rauwolfia acts centrally in the brain. There it has a relaxing and rerhythmizing effect and ensures that the symptoms are alleviated or even disappear.

hammock- visible feet

Rauwolfia for cardiac arrhythmias

Cardiac arrhythmia can also be caused by the central nervous system. The heart reacts to a psychologically induced loss of rhythm and beats irregularly. Rauwolfia has a relaxing effect in the psychological area and therefore has a positive influence on this type of arrhythmia.

Notes on the use of snake root

Reserpinum is usually administered as a single remedy or as a component of antihypertensive mixtures. Long-term administration as a homeopathic or spagyric preparation is also no problem.

Rauwolfia during pregnancy & breastfeeding

It should not be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to its effect on the circulatory system.

Rauwolfia and intestinal catarrhs

It is also not recommended to take Rauwolfia with existing intestinal catarrh. On the one hand because of the circulatory system and on the other because of the difficulty in dosing. In principle, however, homeopathic and spagyric preparations are rather harmless.

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pink-white flowers on large green leaves


Rauwolfia serpentina

Botanical name

Rauwolfia serpentina

Plant family

Dog Poisons

Other designations

Snake root, Indian snake root, Java devil's pepper


July till September

Harvest time

Leaves and stems before flowering, seeds in September


sunny to semi-shady


India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Flower color


Flower shape


Leaf color


Leaf shape

oval, tapered

Sheet properties

stalked and whole-edged

Soil type

loose, sandy, clayey, humus

Soil moisture

wet, moist



Lime compatibility


Nutrient requirements



Slightly toxic

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