Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Rauwolfia serpentaria

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rauwolfia serpentaria L.



Traditional name

Indian Snakeroot
     Rauwolfia serpentina

Used parts

root's tincutre


Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Cornidae; Gentianales; Apocynaceae


Original proving

The Hahnemannian proving was conducted in 1954 by Leeser and Schrenk at the Robert Bosch Hospital in Stuttgart. The proving was carried out on twenty-four doctors, using the 1X and 3x potencies, for a period of fourteen to twenty-eight days. W. Lee Templeton also conducted a proving at the Faculty of Homeopathy in London in 1954-55 on six provers, using the following potencies: 3x, 6x, 12C, 30C, depending on the subject, and for a period of six months. Beja of Orléans (who seemed to be unaware of the work of O. Leeser) began a self-proving in July-August 1956 using the 3x potency, for one month, at the rate of 10 drops four times a day. Finally, Julian undertook detailed clinical studies to determine the range of action of Rauwolfia in a homeopathic potency

Description of the substance

There are more than 100 species of Rauwolfia (the genus was named for the 16th-century German physician and explorer Dr. Leonhard Rauwolf) growing in moist tropical forests of the Pacific, South America, Asia, and Africa. These milky-juiced plants range in height from a mere 6 inches to a towering 100 feet; R. serpentina is among the smallest, growing no higher than 11/2 feet. Graceful and woody, it bears elliptical to oval leaves, dark green above and paler below, in whorls of three or four along the stem. The small pink to white flowers are borne in terminal clusters and produce tiny, oval, fleshy fruits about 1/4 inch long, which turn a shiny purple-black when ripe.

Although pharmaceutical companies have tried to cultivate the plant, they have not been successful, and commercial supplies must come from the wild. Indonesia was once a major source, but its once extensive supply of the trees has been exhausted. Today's leading producers are India and Thailand.