Serpentina, also known as Andrographis paniculata, is an herbaceous plant that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. It is commonly referred to as green chiretta, king of bitter, or serpentina in the Philippines. This plant belongs to the Acanthaceae family and is known for its potential health benefits.
- The Philippine serpentina plant
- Serpentina plant
- How to grow serpentina plant
- Serpentina benefits
- Serpentina side effects
- What are the medicinal properties of the Philippine serpentina plant?
- Can the Philippine serpentina plant be consumed or used as a supplement?
- Where can one find the Philippine serpentina plant? Is it cultivated or wild-grown?
- What are the active compounds or chemicals present in the Philippine serpentina plant?
The Philippine serpentina plant
The annual herbaceous plant Andrographis paniculata, often called creat, green chiretta, or king of bitter is a member of the Acanthaceae family. It is indigenous to Sri Lanka and India.
It is also known as serpentina in the Philippines – not to be confused with the Indian snakeroot plant, which has the scientific name of, Rauvolfia serpentina.
It is commonly farmed in Southern and Southeast Asia. It is said to be effective against various illnesses and bacterial infections. For these uses, the plant’s entire body has occasionally been used; however, the leaves and roots are typically used.
In damp, shaded areas, the plant grows as an upright herb that can reach heights of 30-110 cm (12-43 in). The thin stem has wings at the angles and is square in cross-section. It is dark green. The hairless blades on the lance-shaped leaves can reach lengths of up to 8 cm (3.1 in) by 2.5 cm (0.98 in).
Its tiny, pink flowers are solitary, spread lazily in racemes or panicles, and are petite and solitary. The fruit is a small, yellow-brown capsule around 2 cm (0.79 in) long and a few microns wide. The seeds are glabrous, rugose, and subquadrate. Its flowers bloom from September through December.
The species is found in tropical Asian nations, frequently in sparse areas. It inhabits various environments, including plains, hillsides, beaches, and disturbed and cultivated regions like farms and roadside riparian zones. A. Paniculata’s indigenous populations are widely distributed in Sri Lanka and south India, which may be the origin and diversity of the species.
The herb is an introduced species in the West Indies, Indonesia, Malaysia, northern India, and other parts of the Americas. In addition to these Asian countries, where it may or may not be native, it is also found in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Brunei, and Singapore.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the plant as Low Risk or Least Concern. In India, the plant is typically traded between 2,000 and 5,000 tonnes under the name Kalmegh.
Serpentina scientific name
The scientific name for the serpentina plant is Andrographis paniculata.
The serpentina plant’s leaves are around 1.5-7 cm long and 1-2.5 cm wide, ovate-lanceolate, between egg-shaped and lance-shaped, lanceolate or narrowly oval.
How to grow serpentina plant
The plant enjoys an environment that is hot, muggy, and sunny. When fully grown, Andrographis grows to a height of 1 to 3 feet. Ninety days after planting, little white blooms with purple dots bloom. Flower deadheading promotes a second crop. The plant releases many seeds for the crop the following year if the last blossoms are left on the plant in the fall.
- When there is no longer any threat of frost in the late spring, make a bed for Andrographis. The plant may flourish in any soil if there is enough moisture.
- Breaking up large boulders and soil clumps as you double-dig the bed. Add a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic compost to the soil and stir it.
- Overnight soak the Andrographis seeds. Plant the seeds 6 to 8 inches apart and 2 inches deep. Until the seedlings have emerged, gently water the soil and maintain an even moisture level, which should take five to seven days.
- Around the seedlings, apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch, taking care not to encircle the plants.
- When the plants are established, thin Andrographis to 12 to 18 inches apart, discarding the weakest seedlings.
- Once the sprouts grow, water less frequently, just watering when the soil’s surface starts to feel dry.
- Whenever weeds appear, manually remove them. Andrographis faces competition with weeds for moisture and nutrients. About three to five months after planting, flowers begin to bloom.
- If you’re planting it in a pot, a 5″ pot will suffice.
- Watering – After thoroughly wetting the root ball, wait for the substrate to dry out on the surface before watering again. Although these plants are water hogs, you shouldn’t drown their roots either. Because stagnant water in the armpit of the leaves fosters cryptogamic infections, constantly water the plant from the base and avoid misting it; put bowls of water around (above radiators, for instance) if your environment is dry so that evaporation will humidify the air.
- Indoor planting – A true houseplant, place it in a warm, sunny location like a porch or under a window; they thrive in direct sunlight.
- Pruning – This plant will branch out if you prune it, which is easy.
- Fertilizer – We suggest you repot your plants frequently (twice a year) rather than adding fertilizer because these plants are cultivated naturally, without using chemical fertilizers.
- Pests – The easiest way to manage pests attacking your plants, such as aphids or other insects, is by hand. Change the soil around your plants, take out as many pests as you can by hand, and then give them enough watering to flush out any prospective eggs. Spray them with diluted liquid black soap. Several times, separated by a few days, repeat the surgery. Bring them outside in nice weather because most aggressors will die from the rain, sun, and wind.
Although there is interest in using Andrographis for various conditions, there is not enough credible data to determine whether it will be beneficial.
The health benefits of serpentina are It is used to lower blood sugar, inflammation, high blood pressure, and fever in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. Other uses of the serpentina plants include:
- Common cold. Some persons with the common cold seem to experience less coughing and sore throat when taking Andrographis orally or in conjunction with other herbal products. It’s unclear if Andrographis aids in cold prevention.
- Osteoarthritis. People with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis who take Andrographis extract orally daily report less pain and stiffness.
- Tonsils and throat infections. The effectiveness of Andrographis oral suspension in lowering fever and pain associated with tonsillitis is comparable to that of Tylenol.
- Ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a kind of inflammatory bowel condition. For eight weeks, taking Andrographis extract orally lowers ulcerative colitis symptoms and mesalamine.
Serpentina side effects
In human studies, Andrographis has rarely been linked to minor side effects; nonetheless, a small number of occurrences of urticaria have been documented. Urticaria is a skin reaction characterized by abrupt wheals, bumps, and intense itching.
High dosages of Andrographis may result in nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
You should be cautious when taking Andrographis with any of the following medications because Andrographis could interact with them.
- insulin/oral hypoglycaemic agents.
What are the medicinal properties of the Philippine serpentina plant?
The Philippine Serpentina plant is a type of herb that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. This plant is known for its medicinal properties, proven effective in treating various health conditions. The active compounds found in this herb are believed to provide anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiseptic effects.
One of the most notable benefits of the Philippine Serpentina plant is its ability to lower blood sugar levels. It contains alkaloids that can help regulate insulin production and glucose metabolism. As such, it has become a popular natural remedy for diabetes management. Aside from diabetes, this herb is also used to treat fever, hypertension, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), and other inflammation-related conditions.
The leaves and roots of the Philippine Serpentina plant are rich in bioactive compounds like reserpine and ajmaline.
Can the Philippine serpentina plant be consumed or used as a supplement?
The Philippine Serpentina plant, known as the “King of Bitters,” is a popular herb in traditional medicine. It has been used for centuries to treat various ailments like rheumatism, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Some studies have shown that the plant contains alkaloids that can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. However, it is essential to note that more research is needed to confirm these claims.
While the Philippine Serpentina plant has many potential health benefits, consuming or using it as a supplement is not recommended without consulting a healthcare professional. The plant contains compounds that may interact with certain medications or cause adverse effects in some people. Additionally, there are no standardized dosage guidelines for the herb, meaning taking too much of it can be harmful. To ensure safe consumption or use of the Philippine Serpentina plant as a supplement, individuals should seek advice from their doctor or an experienced herbalist.
Where can one find the Philippine serpentina plant? Is it cultivated or wild-grown?
The Philippine Serpentina plant grows wild in forests and mountains in the Philippines. However, due to its high demand as a traditional medicine, it is cultivated in some areas for commercial purposes. Acquiring the Philippine Serpentina has become an essential source of income for many farmers who have learned how to grow and harvest the plant properly.
While there are no specific regulations around the cultivation of Philippine Serpentina, some experts warn against over-harvesting or over-cultivating the plant without a proper understanding of its growth patterns. As with any natural resource, responsible cultivation practices should be observed to ensure the continued availability of this important medicinal plant.
What are the active compounds or chemicals present in the Philippine serpentina plant?
This plant’s active compounds or chemicals are alkaloids, flavonoids, and terpenoids. The two most essential alkaloids found in Philippine Serpentina are reserpine and yohimbine.
Reserpine is known for its antihypertensive properties, which can lower blood pressure levels. This compound works by reducing the amount of norepinephrine released into the bloodstream, which causes relaxation of the blood vessels and reduces the workload on the heart. Yohimbine, on the other hand, is known for its aphrodisiac effects and has been used to treat erectile dysfunction.
Flavonoids are also present in Philippine Serpentina and have antioxidant properties that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Meanwhile, terpenoids are responsible for the plant’s anti-inflammatory effects that can help relieve pain and swelling associated with various health conditions such as arthritis.
The Philippine Serpentina contains several active compounds contributing to its medicinal properties. These chemicals work together synergistically to provide various health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure levels, improving sexual function, protecting against cellular damage caused by free radicals, and relieving pain and inflammation.
Are there any alternative names or synonyms for the Philippine Serpentina plant?
The Philippine Serpentina plant, scientifically known as Rauvolfia Serpentina, is a medicinal herb native to Southeast Asia. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries due to its various health benefits. However, the plant is also known by multiple names and synonyms in different languages and cultures.
In the Philippines, it is commonly called “Serpentina” or “Hagonoy.” In India, it is known as “Sarpagandha,” while the Chinese call it “She Pan.” Other alternative names include Black Snakeroot, Indian Snakeroot, Devil Pepper, and Snakewood.
Regardless of its name or synonym, the Philippine Serpentina plant contains alkaloids found to help lower blood pressure and treat hypertension. It also has soothing properties that can help with anxiety and insomnia. As such, this versatile herb continues to be an essential ingredient in traditional medicine worldwide.