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Rauvolfia tetraphylla L., 1753
Rauvolfia serpentina fruit
Rauvolfia (sometimes spelled Rauwolfia) is a genus of evergreen trees and shrubs in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. The genus is named to honor Leonhard Rauwolf. The genus can mainly be found in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and various oceanic islands.
2 Chemical constituents
2.1 Medicinal uses
The International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants stipulates that the genus name was established by Carl Linnaeus in his 1753 book Species Plantarum, which cites his earlier description which states in Botanical Latin that the name is dedicated “to Leonhard Rauwolf”: “Leon. Rauvolfio”. Although some subsequent authors hypercorrected the Classical Latin letter “v” to a modern “w”, this is not accepted by the code of nomenclature.
Rauvolfia serpentina, commonly known as or Indian Snakeroot or Sarpagandha, contains many indole alkaloids.
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Reserpine is an alkaloid first isolated from R. serpentina and was widely used as an antihypertensive drug. It had drastic psychological side effects and has been replaced as a first-line antihypertensive drug by other compounds that lack such adverse effects, although combination drugs that include it are still available in some countries as second-line antihypertensive drugs.