Indian Snakeroot Sarpagandha Remedies: Obesity, Insomnia, Headache

B Dr M S Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu) PhD.


Indian Snakeroot – Sarpagandha, botanically, Rauvolfia serpentina Benth Ez Kurzaa is used for the treatment of anxiety, hypertension and sleep disorders.
It belongs to Apocyanaceae family. Roots are used for medicinal purposes. 

The name Sarpagandha is referred in basic classical text Sushruta samhita.
It is found as a weed in Bihar, coastal part of Karnataka and Kerala, Tamilnadu, Bengal, Goa, Meghalaya, MP, Assam, Punjab, Sikkim and other North East regions etc.
The herb is dry in nature, bitter in taste, hot in potency and action wise dominantly it is sedative.

As it is used in the treatment of varieties of psychological disorders, it is referred as ‘drug for madness’ or ‘Paagalpan ki jadibooti’.
Read related: Sarpagandha- Rauwolfia serpentina- Benefits, Side Effects- Ayurveda Details

Chemical constituents

Main chemical constituents of Sarpagandha root are-  Serpentine, Serpentinine, Yohimbine, Ajmalimine, Ajmalicidine, Rouhimbine, Indobinine, Reserpiline, Reserpine, Rauwolfinine(Perakenine), Serpinine etc.

The roots of the plant have been evaluated for their anti-anxiety, sedative, antihypertensive, and relaxing actions and found to be significantly effective.

Sarpagandha choorna, Sarpagandha ghanavati, Sarpagandhadi yoga are a few important medicines of Indian Snakeroot.

Home remedies

Few important and simple remedies of Sarpagandha are mentioned here below-

Insomnia, stress

1. Sarpagandha root powder for insomnia and stress:
Root powder (250mg) of the drug is administered along with milk or warm water, before going to bed. This induces good sleep and reduces stress and strain.

Non healing ulcers

2. Root paste for non healing ulcers:
Fine paste prepared out of the root (fresh) is applied along with turmeric powder. This is effective in insect bite and non healing ulcers.

Premature ejaculation

3. Sarpagandha and Ashwagandha root powder for PME:
Sarpagandha and Ashwagandha root are taken in 1:4 ratio and fine powder is made. This is administered along with ghee or honey. This is very effective in premature ejaculation.


4. Leaf juice for conjunctivitis:
Fresh, tender leaves are crushed well and juice is obtained. This is instilled to both the eyes. It pacifies and prevents seasonal conjunctivitis.


5. Root powder of Rauwolfia serpentina with lemon juice for obesity:
150-250 mg of root powder is administered along with a cup of warm water or lemon juice. Regular medication pacifies the obesity and dependent health issues.


6. Fine paste of the Indian Snakeroot flower for headache:
This is a folklore practice carried by Guni tribal people of Rajasthan. The white colored flowers are crushed well and fine paste is made. This is used to apply to the forehead (some instil to the nostrils also). It pacifies head ache, heaviness of the scalp etc.

Today most of the pharmaceutical companies have started preparing the medicines indicated for Psychological disorders by taking the molecules of Sarpagandha. But such molecules are reported to be causing suicidal tendency in its long practice. But, the drug as such in raw form will not cause any such adverse reactions or toxic effects. Because, the crude drug possesses several chemical constituents and hence the drug is in balanced manner. This lesson one should learn before synthesizing the moist active chemical constituents from any of the herb.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD

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