Sarpagandha, also known as Rauwolfia serpentina (Rauvolfia serpentina) or black snakeroot is one of the very important Ayurvedic herbs. It is used in treating high BP, lack of sleep (insomnia) etc. Sarpagandha has been traditionally used by Ayurveda Practitioners to help maintain healthy blood pressure level. Sarpagandha is a medicinal plant and its leaves and roots are used mainly for therapeutic purpose. It is the main herb for hypertension. In Ayurvedic formulations, Sarpagandha is prescribed in treatment of high blood pressure, insomnia, asthma, acute stomach ache and painful delivery and for mental illness (neuropsychiatric disorders, psychosis, schizophrenia). It is used in snake-bite, insect stings, and mental disorders.
Sarpagandha, is also used in treatment of other diseases such as gastric tumor, general weakness, goiter, hysteria, insomnia, insanity, lipoma, paraplegia, paratyphoid, piles, pneumonia, splenomegaly, stomach disorder, tonsillitis, traumatic wound, tuberculosis and vertigo and pain in abdomen, body, and chest. There is no doubt that Sarpgandha lowers blood pressure. It dilates blood vessel and has sedative effects. Sarpagandha has depressive effects which can persist long after its use. So any one suffering from depression should not take its root powder.
The most common side effects or negative effects on health include dizziness, headache, faintness, drowsiness, redness of eyes, dry mouth, diarrheas, impotence (erection problems), and low sex drive. The other less common side effects are irregular/slow heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, stiffness, trembling of hands, swelling in feet and legs etc. Sarpagandha is pungent in both the initial and post-digestive tastes (Rasa and Vipaka) and gives relief in Vata and Kapha and increases pitta. It has property of digestion, vomiting and purging, and gives feeling of lightness. It is considered bad for sperms and fetus.
Advantages / Benefits of Sarpagandha
- This is the main herb for high blood pressure.
- It dilates the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.
- It reduces Vata and gives relief in insomnia and agitation.
- It is sedating and tranquillizing.
- It is Brain tonic and given in combination with other brain nourishing herbs.
- It gives relief in pain and colic.
- It is an exceptionally powerful.
Disadvantages of Sarpagandha
- It is hot in potency and has warming effect on body.
- It can cause deformities in developing baby, if taken during pregnancy.
- It can cause serious depression, tiredness and nasal congestion.
- It may induce peptic ulceration.
- It may aggravate allergic disorders.
- Wrong dose can cause hypotension and lead to giddiness and sleepiness.
- It can cause fluid retention.
- It may increase salivation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Overdose may cause diarrhea, bradycardia and drowsiness.
- Prolonged use can cause sterility.
- Roots powder should be --- (for normalizing high blood pressure) - 1-2 gm.
- For restlessness, anxiety and inducing sleep - 3-6 gm.
Although sarpagandha is Ayurvedic and have healthy effects but sometime it may results in some side effects are like:
- Swelling may occur in feet and lower legs
- Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetit