Rauwolfia: Biological Sources,Morphological Features, Chemical constituents, MCQ

Rauwolfia: Biological Sources,Morphological Features, Chemical constituents, MCQ


1. Biological Sources :

• It consist of the dried rhizome and roots of Rauwolfia serpentine.
• It belongs to apocynaceae family.
• It also known as Indian snakeroot, devil pepper and serpentine wood.

2. Morphological features :

• It is a perennial shrub.
• The roots of rauwolfia are rarely branched.
• The rootlets are 0.5-1mm in diameter.
• Pieces of rhizomes are recognised by a small central pith but it is closely resemble roots and sometimes they are attached to them small pieces of aerial stem.
• The external surface is grayish-yellow or light brown or brown in colour.
• Outer surface consist of wrinkles or longitudinal ridges with occasional scars of rootlets.
• Bark exfoliates readily or may leave patches of exposed wood.
• The drug composed of mostly small pieces which are 2-15 cm long and 3-22 mm in diameter.
• The shape of pieces are cylindrical, slightly tapering and tortuous.

3. Chemical constituents :

• The chemical constituents of rauwolfia are alkaloids i.e. it consist of 40 types of alkaloids(about 0.7-2.4%).
• Also it contain phytosterol, fatty acids, unsaturated alcohols and sugars as chemical constituents.
• Reserpine and rescinnamine are alkaloids which have main therapeutical effect in rauwolfia.
• Also it contain indole alkaloids and iridoid glycoside,7- epiloganin, which is a new sucrose derivative.
• It also contain ajmaline and ajmalicine.

4. Uses :

• Rauwolfia is used in the treatment of systolic hypertension.
• It also used in certain neuropsychiatric disorders.
• Ajmalicine is isolated from rauwolfia which is used in the treatment of circulatory disease.
• It has the property of hypotensive and tranquillizer.
• It is also used in anxiety condition .
• It is used as sedative.
• It stimulates the central of peripheral nervous system.
• Its roots have the property of increase the utrine contraction.
• It is also used in the treatment of intestinal disorders and anthelminthic bitter tonic and febrifuge.

5. Adulterants :
The main constituent of rauwolfia, reserpine do not present in Rauwolfia densitiflora and Rauwolfia perakensis. They have stratified cork and stone cell.


1. What is the botanical name of rauwolfia?
(a) Rauwolfia serpentine
(b) Allium cepa
(c) Mirabilis jalapa
(d) Lathyrus latifoluis
2. What is the biological source of rauwolfia?
(a) Leaves
(b) Flowers
(c) Dried rhizome and roots
(d) Bark
3. Match the following with respect to chemical constituents of plants?
I. Vasaca A. conessine
II. Kurchi B. vasicine
III. Black pepper C. piperine
IV. Rauwolfia D. reserpine
4. The diameter of rootlets of rauwolfia is
(a) 2-3mm
(b) 0.2-0.3mm
(c) 0.5-1.0mm
(d) 3-4mm
5. The chemical constituents of rauwolfia are
(a) Reserpine
(b) Phytosterol
(c) Fatty acids
(d) All of the above
6. Which statement is incorrect with respect to the use of rauwolfia?
I. Rauwolfia used to treat systolic hypertension.
II. Rauwolfia used in neuropsychiatric disorders.
III. Rauwolfia used to treat certain respiratory disorders.’
IV. Rauwolfia used to treat circulatory disorders.
(a) Only I
(b) Both I and II
(c) Only III
(d) Both I and IV
7. Rauwolfia show the properties of
(a) Sedative
(b) Stimulating the central of peripheral nervous system
(c) Increase the uterine contraction
(d) All of the above
8. Rauwolfia used to treat
(a) Intestinal disorders
(b) Anthelminthic bitter tonic
(c) Both a and b
(d) Jaundice
9. Rauwolfia belongs to which family ?
(a) Liliaceae
(b) Apocynaceae
(c) Acanthaceae
(d) Fabaceae
10. Adulterant of Rauwolfia  serpentine are
(a) Rauwolfia densitiflora
(b) Pisum sativum
(c) Rauwolfia Rauwolfia perakensis
(d) Both a and c

1. (a)
2. (c)
3. (b)
4. (c)
5. (d)
6. (c)
7. (d)
8. (c)
9. (c)
10. (d)

Evans W.C, Editors. Trease and Evans Pharmacognosy. New York, Saunders Elsevier; 2009, p. 401.

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