Rauvolfia canescens as a Sedative

Rauvolfia canescens is a plant found in Sri Lanka. The plant belongs to the Apocynaceae family of plants and in this regard is closely related to Rauvolfia serpentina, also called Indian snakeroot. Both plants are evergreen and may contain high amounts of medicinal indole alkaloids. Indian snakeroot is known to contain a number of medicinally useful phytochemicals including the alkaloids rauwolfia, reserpine and alseroxylon, that have a sedative effect in animals, and this sedation may also provide anxiolytic effects. Evidence from studies show that the closely related Rauvolfia canescens has a similar ability to cause sedation in animals, and this sedation may result from similarities in the phytochemistry of the plant to Indian snakeroot. Studies such as this show the similarities in the medicinal effects of groups of closely related plants and how groups of plants can have particular effects. This can also be seen clearly in sage and mint plants, many varieties of which have similar phytochemistry and similar effects. 

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Madawala, P. G., Arambewela, L. S. R., Premakumara, G. A. S. and Ratnasooriya, W. D. 1994. Studies on the sedative activity of crude extract of root bark of Rauvolfia canescens on rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 42: 63-65

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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