What is Indian snakeroot? Simply put, it is a perennial herb, also known as wintergreen, which originated in the Himalayan Mountains, near the village called Panjang. It is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) and grows wild across the Himalayas and Tibet.
As its name suggests, it contains a substance that is closely related to the herb mint, though not identical. Indian snakeroot is an effective quick-relief for nerves and it usually takes time for the full effect to become prominent. The moment the effects start to appear, the effects are felt as a tingling, itching sensation which gradually subsides. In fact, it is so effective that it is frequently prescribed by doctors in the USA for the relief of nervous system disorders like anxiety, chronic fatigue, etc. Following is an insight into the usage of this herb in the context of nervous disorders:
It has been found that Indian snakeroot herb contains alkaloids. These alkaloids have the ability to change the membrane of the cells (a process called “translocation”) and this process increases the mobility of the cell from one location to another. It also enhances the permeability of the cell wall thereby increasing its transpenetration (the ability of the cell to absorb nutrients and other substances that reach the cell). The most abundant alkaloids found in the plant are caffeine and theophylline. Caffeine has the ability to reduce anxiety, improve memory and stimulate the nervous system.
When a person ingests Indian snakeroot, his body becomes highly relaxed and it begins to digest food. This enables the plant to act as an antidote for poisoning. According to Ayurvedic medicine, when there is loss of salt in the body, this is due to a malfunctioning of the kidneys. Caffeine is an alkaline base which restores the pH levels in the body. Also, caffeine is an antiseptic which prevents the spread of diseases. Therefore, this is the main reason why this plant is considered a great antidote for poisoning.
The medicinal plant is not only useful as an antidote but it is also used as a stimulant and a diuretic. It stimulates the secretion of the thyroid gland, which results in increased metabolism and improved digestion. The Indian snakeroot plant is also believed to improve the production of red blood cells in the body. The other effects of the herb include promoting the production of hormones and enzymes, improving the functioning of the kidney and pancreas, strengthening the teeth and gums and preventing tooth decay. It is even used as a mild laxative.
Though this is a very powerful plant that has many healing properties, some side effects have been noted. These effects are mild ones and include diarrhea, vomiting and mild stomach cramps. In order to minimize these side effects, it is recommended that you follow the dosage given on the leaf, which is usually taken three to four times a day. Taking too much of this herb can cause adverse reactions.
Although this is a very strong medicinal plant with many healing effects, it should not be used as a remedy for high blood pressure. There were studies conducted where the effectiveness of this herb was established. However, there are also some side effects reported from people who took high doses of this herb. One particular case involves a thirty-year-old female who died after taking 5 tablets of this medicinal plant. The cause of her death was high blood pressure. Her family had noticed some improvement in her health while taking Indian snakeroot, but they discontinued the use because they were afraid of losing her to congestive heart failure.
As of this writing, this plant has been used by the aboriginals of Australia, Africa, China, Finland, France, Guatemala, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Thailand and the United States to treat diabetes, fatigue, neuralgia, pain, nausea and nervous exhaustion. It can also be used to treat such things as joint swelling, ulcers, rheumatism, stress, skin diseases, varicose veins, menstrual problems, cancer, tumors, and other medicinal and general diseases. It is very easy to grow and needs very little attention. Snakeroot is easily available from most garden centers. If you live in a colder climate, then you should keep in mind that you can grow this herb in a glass pot.