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Rauwolfia Serpentina and Rauwolscine – why to use it? How does it work? And actually, what is it used for?

Rauwolfia (Rauwolfia Serpentina) is the plant from milkweed family, firstly used in Ayurvedic traditional medicine. It was used as a kind of aphrodisiac – even native people noticed its effectiveness in improving mood and libido. But why not only Rauwolfia Serpentina is still used, but its popularity is still growing? And why you should actually consider using it?

First things first – Rauwolfia Serpentina origin

As we stated before, Rauwolfia Serpentina is a plant used widely in Indian traditional medicine. Originally it doesn’t have a specific way or purpose of taking. It was just used to improve general health. Firstly, we should ask:

Which part of Rauwolfia Serpentina is medically important?

As always, we should focus on Rauwolfia Serpentina roots (roots are the first part of the plant’s body, with which we should associate with bioactive substances). Bark and leaves are used for treating wild animals (mainly scorpions and snakes) poisoning. But in roots, we can find our main point of interests – alkaloids, and the most important one – rauwolscine, about which we will talk mainly.

Rauwolfia Serpentina root

Let’s monograph Rauwolfia root for a second before we will rush to rauwolscine. We can find here about 50 alkaloids. Of course, we will not describe every one of them (we bet that there are too little clinical studies to cover them all), but we will outline some more interesting ones of them.

We will base on probably the most competent article regarding Rauwolfia Serpentina alkaloids – “The Alkaloids of Rauwolfia serpentine benth” by Donald D. Phillips and Mohindra S. Chadha published in Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association (Scientific ed.) at Volume 44, Issue 9 in September 1955

  • Ajmaline (the best studied tertiary indoline alkaloid contained in Rauwolfia Serpentina) – it is mainly compared to strychnine derivatives. Yes, that very poisonous strychnine. Theoretically, in low doses, it can improve muscle excitation (what in higher dose is the indirect cause of death – the muscles excite so much, that they get tired, and cannot work properly, specifically those essential for your survival – smooth muscles). That’s one big red light, that you shouldn’t consume Rauwolfia Serpentina as a whole plant.
  • Serpentine and Serpentinine (quaternary anhydronium bases) – alkaloids with actions very similar to rauwolscine. Who knows, maybe in near future, you will be supplementing serpentine, rather than rauwolscine?
  • Reserpine (the most significant pharmacologically alkaloid) – it is widely used as a drug for hypertension. It also shows preliminary support in psychotic-related ailments. Its mechanism of action bases on the ability to deplete free neurotransmitters pool (mainly catecholamines), by increasing their sensibility to degradation by MAO enzymes.
Reserpine is an indole alkaloid antipsychotic and antihypertensive drug that has been used for the control of high blood pressure and for the relief of psychotic symptoms

Here, we have to mention two other alkaloids – rescinnamine and canescine (deserpidine) which shows exactly the same actions as reserpine, and they are suspected as their successor in treating various ailments.

Yohimbine is an indole alkaloid derived from the bark of yohimbe tree. It is a veterinary drug used to reverse sedation in dogs and deer. It is a potential treatment for erectile dysfunction

But to the concretes – let’s focus on rauwolscine

Rauwolscine is an indole alkaloid derived from the root of the Rauwolfia Serpentina in Central Africa. It is a drug used in hypertension.

As we mentioned before – rauwolscine is alkaloid founded in Rauwolfia Serpentina. It is the most important one for us in the context of losing weight and fat. We could call it an upgraded version of Yohimbine. In short – rauwolscine shows similar actions to yohimbine, but with increased potential.

What does rauwolscine do?

In concrete – rauwolscine helps you in losing fat, by affinity to alpha-2-adrenergic receptors [1]. It also causes serotonin-like actions[2], and that is why you can feel better, your mood can be improved and you can feel more excited! Improved libido from supplementing rauwolscine is also a result of this mechanism.

Rauwolscine vs yohimbine. Rauwolscine and yohimbine – what is the difference?

Rocket Fuel Blue Edition - the most recommended supplement containing rauwolscine

Well, rauwolscine and yohimbine is kind of the same substance. Rauwolscine is a diastereoisomer of Yohimbine (if you are not familiar with chemical nomenclature – it’s like an alternative form of yohimbine). Due to that, it shows similar, but more intensive actions, rather than yohimbine.

When to take rauwolscine?

It is mainly suggested to take it just before a workout, or in the morning before breakfast.

Where to buy rauwolscine?

At MZ Store surely! Although is hard to find rauwolscine as the only ingredient of formulation, because it shows synergistic actions with other fat-burning compounds. We highly suggest checking Rocket Fuel Blue Edition from Apollos Hegemony – it is most recommended and highly reviewed formulation, containing a high dose of rauwolscine.

One more word about rauwolscine and caffeine

It is probably the simplest, yet the highly potent combination of fat burning-stimulatory substances. We receive increased intensity of fat burning mechanism from rauwolscine, and at the same time, the stimulatory effect of caffeine to do a more intensive workout! We definitely recommend trying such a combination.

Let’s go back to Rauwolfia Serpentina – how if you want to take an extract of it, rather than rauwolscine?

Firstly, it’s hard to find a whole plant, or even root of Rauwolfia to buy. Mainly to sanitary, and safety reasons – they are really hard to standardize for potentially toxic substances and even harder to eliminate those substances. Be aware, Rauwolfia Serpentina toxicity is highly significant. So we more often can find Rauwiloid – alkaloidal extract of Rauwolfia Serpentina. From it is much easier to extract unnecessary substances and left only beneficial ones. Such extract is also the most commonly used in clinical studies.

How Rauwolfia Serpentina works actually?

We covered it already, but let’s sum it up once for all – Rauwolfia Serpentina is mostly used for hypertension (too high blood pressure), anxiety related ailments and as diabetes treatment support. As single alkaloids, those are mainly Reserpine, Yohimbine and Rauwolscine which are used. But other one's benefits are intensively studied.

Rauwolfia Serpentina and erectile dysfunction

Due to the content of Yohimbine and Rauwolscine, it shows pretty high potential in treating erectile dysfunction. How? Due to an affinity of those substances to alpha-2-adrenergic receptors, it can reverse negative effects of antagonist substances of sexuality (for example Naloxone or clonidine), and increase sex drive, if you actually don’t have any kind of similar dysfunction.

Rauwolfia Serpentina and kidneys

Exact Rauwolfia Serpentina toxicity dose and mechanism is yet to be studied. However, we already know about plenty of toxic-like alkaloids (from which we have mentioned few earlier), which can worse not only state of your kidneys, but also other organs like liver! And remember that there are potential synergistic or antagonistic effects between every one of them, which we didn’t study even preliminary! That is why we highly disrecommend trying the whole plant or any parts of it on your own.

Rauwolfia Serpentina in homeeopathy

Homeopathy is a really hard topic to discuss, because of controversies with its effectivity. We mentioned the extract of Rauwolfia alkaloids – Rauwiloid, which could potentially be beneficial in some specific cases. But too high dilution could potentially decrease its effectiveness.

Where to buy Rauwolfia Serpentina?

We don’t recommend it. Clinically studied extracts of Rauwolfia are done by laboratories themselves. Those, which are for sale are not even standardized, so actually, you don’t know what are you taking! Or even if you are taking Rauwolfia at all! Also, it is not an official, supported drug (alkaloids of Rauwolfia are, not Rauwolfia on its own) and that it’s another reason why you should highly consider using it on any kind of ailment on your own.

To sum up

Rauwolfia Serpentina is a very interesting plant, with highly beneficial compounds. At the same time, it is highly dangerous to take it on its own, like a plant or any part of it. But individual alkaloids contained in Rauwolfia are something absolutely different! Many of them show high potential in treating problems related to obesity, erectile dysfunction and hypertension. And other ones are already intensively studied. From most commonly used, we recommend becoming familiar with rauwolscine, or yohimbine, if you want to benefit from Rauwolfia Serpentina in a safe way.


  1. Perry BD, U'Prichard DC. (3H)rauwolscine (alpha-yohimbine): a specific antagonist radioligand for brain alpha 2-adrenergic receptors . Eur J Pharmacol. (1981)
  2. Arthur JM, Casañas SJ, Raymond JR. Partial agonist properties of rauwolscine and yohimbine for the inhibition of adenylyl cyclase by recombinant human 5-HT1A receptors . Biochem Pharmacol. (1993)

About author

Damian Ziółkowski

Damian Ziółkowski

A young, ambitious Food Technology and Human Nutrition engineer.
Interested in dietary supplementation, training, diet and whole healthy lifestyle topic for about 7 years already.
Lost about 67 pounds in a time of extreme obesity, in his youngster years.

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