Now, an alternative to the depleting drug Sarpagandha

Researchers from Arya Vaidya Sala find root of Rauvolfia tetraphylla having same biological properties

Updated - October 17, 2020 07:29 am IST

Published - October 16, 2020 11:57 pm IST - MALAPPURAM

Rauvolfia tetraphylla

Rauvolfia tetraphylla

A team of researchers from the Centre for Medicinal Plants Research (CMPR) at the Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakkal, has discovered a viable alternative for a depleting drug widely used for treatment of high blood pressure in Ayurveda.

The alternative for the famous drug Sarpagandha was found in a study that lasted several years. Sarpagandha is taken from the root of a plant named Rauvolfia serpentina or Indian snakeroot, and is a vital drug in Ayurveda used for high blood pressure, asthma, and insomnia.

It is a critically endangered species belonging to the family Apocynaceae. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has red-listed this plant following its overexploitation.

C.T. Sulaiman, senior scientist who led the research under Indira Balachandran, said that the shortage of Sarpagandha had begun to seriously affect Ayurveda drug industry in the country. “Some started using spurious drugs in the name of Sarpagandha because of its non-availability,” said Dr. Sulaiman.

The study found that the root of Rauvolfia tetraphylla , a plant belonging to the genus Rauvolfia, shared the same biological properties of Rauvolfia serpentina . “We could validate the similarity between those plants, and could suggest Rauvolfia tetraphylla as a viable alternative to Sarpagandha,” said Dr. Sulaiman.

The latest issue of Beni-Suef University Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences published by Springer Nature has carried the research findings of Dr. Sulaiman and team.

K.M. Prabhukumar, C.K. Jyothi, and Jinu Krishnan Unnithan were part of the team. The National Medicinal Plants Board, Union Ministry of AYUSH, sponsored the study.

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