Scientific name: Rauvolfia serpentina (L.) Benth. ex Kurz

Family: Apocynaceae

Synonym: Rauvolfia trifoliata (Gaertn.) Baill.

Bengali/Vernacular name: Swarpagandha.

Tribal name: Bauma raja (Bawm), Bhomara (Chakma), Pomanyrajafing (Chak), Do-grak-mi (Garo), Braymaraya (Khumi), Kayamusiba (Marma), Thongclang (Murang), Kayamusiba (Rakhaing), Chan-dugma (Tripura), Bowmba raja (Tanchangya).

English name: Serpentina.

Description of the plant: An erect, glabrous, perennial herb, about 30 cm tall. Leaves simple, whorled, elliptic-lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, 8-16 cm long, widest in the middle, tapering to both ends, tip acute. The flowers are white, pinkish, or red, clustered in axillary cymes, with slender corolla tube and 5 spreading lobes. Its fruit are tiny, oval, fleshy which turn a purplish-black when ripe.

Rauvolfia serpentina

Plant parts used: Root.

Ethnomedicinal uses: Half a teaspoon amount of root powder is taken with water thrice a day is effective in relieving hypertension.

One gram of powdered root can be taken twice a day with 250 ml of goat’s milk for the treatment of insanity.

The root extract is given with salt for the treatment of cough and constipation.

One gram of powdered root can be administered thrice a day with milk until the hysteria is cured.

Root powder is taken with water for the treatment of itchy skin. 

Pea-sized pills are made from the root of the plant is administered for the treatment of pneumonia and abdominal pain.

Distribution: It occurs sporadically in Chittagong, Sylhet, Kushtia, Dhaka, Mymensingh, and Rajshahi districts; sometimes also cultivated.

Is this plant misidentified? If yes, please tell us….

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