Ajmaline, Alseroxylon, Arbre aux Serpents, Arbre de Serpents, Bois de Couleuvre, Chandra, Chandrika, Chota-Chand, Covanamilpori, Dhan-barua, Dhanburua, Dhanmarna, Java Devil-Pepper, Pagla-Ka-Dawa, Ophioxylon serpentinum, Patalagandhi, Preparation 1043, Racine de Couleuvre, Racine de Serpent, Raudixin, Rauwolfia, Rauwolfae Radix, Rauwolfia Serpentina, Rauwolfiawurzel, Rauvolfia serpentina, Sarpagandha, Sarpgandha, Serpentaire de l'Inde, Serpentine, Serpentine-Wood, Serpina, Serpiria, She Gen Mu, Snake Root, Snakewood.


Overview Information

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

Indian snakeroot has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine in India, mainly for high blood pressure and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and anxiety. Also, one of the chemicals in Indian snakeroot is the same as a prescription drug called reserpine. Reserpine has been used to treat high blood pressure, schizophrenia, and some symptoms of poor circulation.

How does it work?

Indian snakeroot contains chemicals such as reserpine that is a prescription medicine used for high blood pressure.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Anxiety. Early research shows that Indian snakeroot can reduce anxiety in some people when used for about 20 days. It is not known if Indian snakeroot has any benefit when used for longer periods of time.
  • High blood pressure. Early research shows that Indian snakeroot reduces high blood pressure.
  • Insomnia. Early research shows that taking Indian snakeroot along with two other herbs might help insomnia. It is not known if Indian snakeroot helps with insomnia when used alone.
  • Constipation.
  • Fever.
  • Insect bite.
  • Liver disease.
  • Malaria.
  • A mental disorder marked by hallucinations and delusion (psychosis).
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Seizure disorder (epilepsy).
  • Snake bite.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Indian snakeroot for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Indian snakeroot is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. It contains chemicals that have been shown to cause low blood pressure and slow heart rate. Long-term use can cause depression. Other possible side effects of Indian snakeroot include nasal congestion, changes in appetite and weight, nightmares, drowsiness, and loose stools.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if Indian snakeroot is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use. The chemicals in Indian snakeroot can pass into breast milk and might harm a nursing infant.

Anxiety: Indian snakeroot contains a chemical that might make anxiety worse. But some research shows that Indian snakeroot might improve anxiety. Until more is known, use Indian snakeroot with caution in people with anxiety.

Depression: Indian snakeroot can cause depression, especially in people who have had depression before.

Diabetes: Indian snakeroot can lower blood sugar levels. It might cause sugar levels to go too low if taken with other diabetes medicines.

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.

Gallbladder disease: Indian snakeroot might make gallbladder disease worse.

Low blood pressure: Don't use Indian snakeroot if you have low blood pressure. Indian snakeroot can lower blood pressure even further.

A tumor in the adrenal glands which causes dangerously high blood pressure (pheochromocytoma): Avoid Indian snakeroot - it might make dangerously high blood pressure worse.

Stomach ulcers: Avoid Indian snakeroot - it could make stomach ulcers worse.

An autoimmune disease that causes widespread swelling (systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE): Indian snakeroot has caused symptoms like SLE and could make it worse.



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.

View References


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