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    Other Names:

    Ajmaline, Arbre aux Serpents, Arbre de Serpents, Bois de Couleuvre, Chandrika, Chota-Chand, Covanamilpori, Dhanburua, Pagla-Ka-Dawa, Ophioxylon serpentinum, Patalagandhi, Racine de Couleuvre, Racine de Serpent, Rauwolfia, Rauwolfae Radix, Rauwol...
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    INDIAN SNAKEROOT Interactions
    INDIAN SNAKEROOT Overview Information

    Indian snakeroot is a plant. The root is used to make medicine.

    Indian snakeroot is used for mild high blood pressure, nervousness, trouble sleeping (insomnia), and mental disorders such as agitated psychosis and insanity. Indian snakeroot is also used for snake and reptile bites, fever, constipation, feverish intestinal diseases, liver ailments, achy joints (rheumatism), fluid retention (edema), epilepsy, and as a tonic for general debilities.

    One of the chemicals in Indian snakeroot is the same as a prescription drug called reserpine. Reserpine is used to treat mild to moderate hypertension, schizophrenia, and some symptoms of poor circulation.

    How does it work?

    Indian snakeroot contains chemicals such as reserpine that decrease heart rate and blood pressure.

    INDIAN SNAKEROOT Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

    Insufficient Evidence for:

    • Trouble sleeping (insomnia). Early evidence indicates that Indian snakeroot in a specific combination with two other herbs might help insomnia.
    • Nervousness.
    • Mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
    • Constipation.
    • Fever.
    • Liver problems.
    • Joint pain.
    • Spasms in the legs due to poor circulation.
    • Mild high blood pressure.
    • Other conditions.
    More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Indian snakeroot for these uses.

    INDIAN SNAKEROOT Side Effects & Safety

    Indian snakeroot is POSSIBLY SAFE when a standardized extract is used under the supervision of a healthcare professional trained in its use. Standardized Indian snakeroot contains a set amount of medicine. The amount of reserpine and other chemicals in Indian snakeroot can vary from plant to plant. Since the reserpine and other chemicals in Indian snakeroot can be very toxic, the dose must be accurate and the side effects monitored by a trained healthcare professional. Side effects can range from mild to serious and include nasal congestion, stomachcramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, drowsiness, convulsions, Parkinson's-like symptoms, and coma. Indian snakeroot can slow reaction times and should not be used when driving or operating heavy machinery.

    Self-medication is UNSAFE.

    Special Precautions & Warnings:

    Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s UNSAFE to use Indian snakeroot during pregnancy. The chemicals in Indian snakeroot might cause birth defects. It is also UNSAFE to use this Indian snakeroot during breast-feeding. The chemicals it contains can pass into breast milk and might harm a nursing infant.

    Shock therapy (electroconvulsive therapy, ECT): Indian snakeroot should not be used by people who are receiving ECT. Stop taking Indian snakeroot at least one week before beginning ECT.

    Gall stones: Indian snakeroot might make gallbladder disease worse.

    Stomach ulcers, intestinal ulcers, or ulcerative colitis: Don’t use Indian snakeroot if you have ever had one of these conditions.

    Allergy to reserpine or similar medicines known as rauwolfia alkaloids: Don’t take Indian snakeroot if you are allergic to these medicines.

    Depression: Don’t take Indian snakeroot if you have depression or suicidal tendencies.

    A tumor in the adrenal glands which causes dangerously high blood pressure (pheochromocytoma): Don’t use Indian snakeroot if you have this condition.

    Surgery: Indian snakeroot might speed up the central nervous system. There is a concern that it might interfere with surgical procedures by increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Stop using Indian snakeroot at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

    INDIAN SNAKEROOT Interactions What is this?

    Major Interaction Do not take this combination

    • Alcohol interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Alcohol can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Indian snakeroot might also cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking large amounts of Indian snakeroot along with alcohol might cause too much sleepiness.

    • Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. Indian snakeroot seems to slow the heartbeat. Taking Indian snakeroot along with digoxin might decrease the effectiveness of digoxin. Do not take Indian snakeroot if you are taking digoxin (Lanoxin).

    • Levodopa interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Levodopa is used for Parkinson's disease. Taking Indian snakeroot along with levodopa might decrease the effectiveness of levodopa. It is not clear why this interaction might occur. To be on the safe side, do not take Indian snakeroot if you are taking levodopa.

    • Medications for depression (MAOIs) interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Indian snakeroot contains a chemical that affects the body. This chemical might increase the side effects of some medications used for depression.

      Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

    • Medications for mental conditions (Antipsychotic drugs) interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Indian snakeroot seems to have a calming effect. Medications for mental conditions also help calm you down. Taking Indian snakeroot along with some medications for mental conditions might increase the risk of side effects of medications for mental conditions.

      Some of these medications include chlorpromazine (Thorazine), clozapine (Clozaril), fluphenazine (Prolixin), haloperidol (Haldol), olanzapine (Zyprexa), perphenazine (Trilafon), prochlorperazine (Compazine), quetiapine (Seroquel), risperidone (Risperdal), thioridazine (Mellaril), thiothixene (Navane), and others.

    • Propranolol (Inderal) interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Propanolol (Inderal) is used to decrease blood pressure. Indian snakeroot also seems to reduce blood pressure. Taking Indian snakeroot along with propanolol (Inderal) might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

    • Sedative medications (Barbiturates) interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Indian snakeroot might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking Indian snakeroot along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

    • Stimulant drugs interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Indian snakeroot might also speed up the nervous system. Taking Indian snakeroot along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with Indian snakeroot.

      Some stimulant drugs include diethylpropion (Tenuate), epinephrine, phentermine (Ionamin), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and many others.

    Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

    • Ephedrine interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Ephedrine can speed up the nervous system and make you feel jittery. Indian snakeroot can calm you down and make you sleepy. Taking Indian snakeroot along with ephedrine can decrease the effects of ephedrine.

    • Medications used for depression (Tricyclic antidepressants) interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Taking some medications used for depression might decrease the effects of Indian snakeroot.

      Some of these medicines used for depression include amitriptyline (Elavil), imipramine (Tofranil), and others.

    • Water pills (Diuretic drugs) interacts with INDIAN SNAKEROOT

      Indian snakeroot might affect the heart. "Water pills" can decrease potassium in the body. Low potassium levels can also affect the heart and increase the risk of side effects from Indian snakeroot.

      Some "water pills" that can deplete potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDuril, Microzide), and others.


    The appropriate dose of Indian snakeroot depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for Indian snakeroot. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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    Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

    This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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