In the present day and age, not only in India but all over the world, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the foremost serious health problem among adults, accounting for nearly one-third of deaths annually. And in the majority of chronic conditions such as heart failure, stroke, coronary artery disease, the primary trigger factor is hypertension or high blood pressure (BP). Although conventional medications are effective in controlling blood pressure fluctuations, certain natural remedies further support optimal cardiac functions, provide significant relief from accompanying symptoms of rapid heartbeat, chest discomfort, palpitations, as well as lower the risk of severe heart disease.
One such miraculous herb from Ayurveda is Sarpagandha, a time-tested solution for tackling hypertension. Furthermore, this potent herb has also been documented in the ancient ayurvedic manuscripts of Charaka Samhita, Ashtanga Hridaya, Sushruta Samhita for its uses in ameliorating asthma symptoms, remedying insomnia, healing skin infections. It is even valuable in rectifying myriad nervous system and mental health woes such as anxiety, epilepsy, panic attacks.
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The Sarpagandha Plant:
Sarpagandha is a very valuable root obtained from the Rauwolfia serpentina plant, a flowering shrub that grows widely in the sub-Himalayan moist forests in Sikkim, Assam in India, as well as in tropical parts of Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Africa and the Americas. Although all parts of the plant – the stem, flower, bark possess medicinal qualities, the roots of Sarpagandha are predominantly utilised in preparing traditional Ayurvedic formulations for internal consumption, while the leaves are incorporated into herbal pastes for topical application on snake bites, skin infections and wounds.
Sarpagandha being its classical Sanskrit name which literally translates to snake root, since the roots of the plant are twisted and coiled like a snake, this herb is known by many common English names. These consist of Indian snakeroot, Serpentina root, Rauvolfia root, devil pepper and serpentine root. This herbal root is imbued with a plethora of phytonutrients, with the alkaloid reserpine being widely known for its antihypertensive and antipsychotic effects on the human system.
Sarpagandha Benefits And Therapeutic Uses:
Effectively Lowers High BP
The powdered root derivatives of sarpagandha are a wonderful natural solution for managing hypertension symptoms. By relaxing the blood vessels and regulating nerve function in the muscles leading to the heart, sarpagandha brings down high blood pressure and facilitates the circulation of blood through the heart passages at a normal, healthy pace. It is hence a rather valuable herbal remedy for alleviating hypertension and augmenting heart wellness.
Sarpagandha is laden with alkaloids, which hold strong sedative traits that positively influence an agitated brain, mind and central nervous system. It is hence a very useful therapy for insomnia, as it pacifies the mind and promotes deep sleep at night. Moreover, it lowers mental stress and tension, thus tackling bouts of anxiety, nervousness, panic attacks and soothing the brain and mind for peaceful sleep.
Treats High-Grade Fever
The roots of sarpagandha possess analgesic and anti-pyretic properties as well, thanks to the vast reserves of plant-based antioxidant constituents present in them. Thus, ingesting a blend of sarpagandha root powder with coconut water when suffering from high fever efficiently brings down the body temperature to the normal range, besides mitigating muscle pain, weakness, headaches.
Pacifies Stomach Infections
Sarpagandha possesses a treasure trove of bioactive elements that hold strong antimicrobial properties. Thus, consuming the root extract of this herb along with warm water and honey helps treat stomach infections, diarrhoea, dysentery by thwarting germs and pathogens residing in the gut and promoting digestion, metabolism, aside from reducing the frequency of loose stools and regulating bowel movements.
Heals Wounds On Skin
The leaf and root extracts of sarpagandha house powerful plant-based compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. The crushed leaves and root powder are both very useful in treating snake bites when applied directly onto the affected site on the skin, while the herbal isolates also repair damaged tissues in skin infections, injuries and conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea.
Sarpagandha Effect On Doshas:
Sarpagandha possesses a strong ability to soothe aggravated vata and kapha doshas, while stimulating weakened pitta dosha in the body, thus regulating tridoshic balance. With an inherently bitter taste i.e. Tikta Rasa, this root has a dry quality or Rooksha Guna, besides an innate Ushna Veerya, meaning heat-inducing property. Sarpagandha displays a Katu Vipaka i.e. a sharp tart taste post digestion and is loaded with powerful medicinal qualities such as anti-hypertensive, sedative/tranquilising, anxiolytic (reducing anxiety), antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory traits.
The recommended dosage of Sarpagandha as mentioned by certified Ayurvedic medical practitioners is as follows:
- For Hypertension:
250 mg – 2 g per day is the maximum dose.
This must be taken in evenly divided portions, either as the pure paste or mixed with rose water, honey to lessen the astringent taste.
- For Insomnia:
250 mg – 1 g per day is the maximum dose.
This must be taken in equally divided portions, either as the pure concoction or combined with ghee to minimize the acerbic taste.
- Sarpagandha is also beneficial for resolving many health anomalies including asthma, diabetes, dysentery, epilepsy and anxiety.
- However, it is strictly advised to consult with an Ayurvedic doctor before taking Sarpagandha for any illness and only ingest the herbal formulation in the prescribed dosage to avert any harmful side effects.
- Additionally, before applying sarpagandha extracts topically for treating skin infections, it is essential to ensure that no allergic reactions or hypersensitivity arise in the body from the herb.
Sarpagandha Side Effects:
- Sarpagandha generally does not trigger any minor or severe side effects when taken in moderate portions or the prescribed dose regularly. However, this herb must not be consumed by those with kidney complaints, hyperacidity, depression.
- In some cases, sarpagandha triggers side effects of nasal congestion, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, swelling in the lower legs and hence the herb must be avoided if these occur often upon regular intake.
- It is also not safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women to take Sarpagandha formulations since they induce uterine contractions and influence reproductive hormone levels in the body.
Undoubtedly, sarpagandha is a remarkable herb packed with powerful bioactive compounds that confers astounding wellness incentives and aids in tackling numerous health anomalies including high blood pressure, insomnia, skin infections. This Ayurvedic plant must be ingested in the appropriate dose, as well as applied on the skin carefully, in order to prevent any unfavourable side effects and reap the excellent advantages it provides for remedying innumerable health issues and uplift overall wellbeing.