Rauvolfia vomitoria
Rauvolfia vomitoria

Background

Rauvolfia vomitoria is a shrub found mainly in West Africa. Various parts of the plant are used in traditional Nigerian and Chinese medicine.

Rauvolfia vomitoria contains chemicals that lower blood pressure, kill cancer cells and bacteria, and help with brain function. It is not completely clear which chemicals are the most important in Rauvolfia vomitoria or exactly how they might work together.

People use Rauvolfia vomitoria for athletic performance, diabetes, psychosis, fever, cancer, high blood pressure, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. It might also be unsafe.

Rauvolfia vomitoria is used in some workout supplements. Some countries have banned supplements containing Rauvolfia vomitoria extract from the market because some extracts contain high levels of chemicals that are prescription drugs. Don't confuse Rauvolfia vomitoria with Indian snakeroot, yohimbe, or rauwolscine. These are not the same.
When taken by mouth: Rauvolfia vomitoria is possibly unsafe. Rauvolfia vomitoria dried root powder can cause shakiness, jerky movements, or slower movements in some people. Rauvolfia vomitoria also contains chemicals that can cause serious side effects, including low or high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and seizures.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if Rauvolfia vomitoria is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Rauvolfia vomitoria is possible unsafe to use while pregnant. It contains chemicals that might cause birth defects.

Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if Rauvolfia vomitoria is safe to use while breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Anxiety: Rauvolfia vomitoria contains a chemical that might make anxiety worse.

Depression: Rauvolfia vomitoria contains a chemical that might make depression worse.

Shock therapy (electroconvulsive therapy, ECT): Rauvolfia vomitoria should not be used by people who are receiving ECT. Stop taking Rauvolfia vomitoria at least one week before beginning ECT.

Gallstones: Rauvolfia vomitoria might make gallbladder disease worse.

Heart disease: Chemicals in Rauvolfia vomitoria can increase or decrease blood pressure. Use with caution if you have heart disease or are at risk for heart disease.

Gastrointestinal (GI) conditions: Rauvolfia vomitoria can irritate the stomach and intestines. Don't use it if you have ever had peptic ulcers or inflammation (swelling) of the GI tract.

Pheochromocytoma: Don't use Rauvolfia vomitoria if you have this condition.

Surgery: Rauvolfia vomitoria might affect blood sugar levels, making blood sugar control difficult during and after surgery. Stop using Rauvolfia vomitoria at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Effectiveness

There is interest in using Rauvolfia vomitoria for a number of purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of Rauvolfia vomitoria might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Ephedrine

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Ephedrine can speed up the nervous system and make you feel jittery. Rauvolfia vomitoria might speed up or slow down the nervous system. Taking Rauvolfia vomitoria along with ephedrine might increase or decrease the effects of ephedrine.

Levodopa

Interaction Rating=Major Do not take this combination.

Levodopa is used for Parkinson disease. Taking Rauvolfia vomitoria along with levodopa might decrease the effects of levodopa and worsen symptoms of Parkinson disease.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Rauvolfia vomitoria might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

Medications for depression (MAOIs)

Interaction Rating=Major Do not take this combination.

Rauvolfia vomitoria contains a chemical that affects the body. This chemical might increase the side effects of some medications used for depression.

Some common MAOIs include phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate).

Medications for depression (Tricyclic Antidepressants)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Taking some medications used for depression might alter the effects of Rauvolfia vomitoria and increase the risk for side effects.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Rauvolfia vomitoria might lower blood sugar levels. Taking Rauvolfia vomitoria along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Rauvolfia vomitoria might lower blood pressure. Taking Rauvolfia vomitoria along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.

Medications for mental conditions (Antipsychotic drugs)

Interaction Rating=Major Do not take this combination.

Rauvolfia vomitoria has some of the same effects as medications for mental conditions. Taking Rauvolfia vomitoria along with these medications might increase the risk of side effects from these medications.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Rauvolfia vomitoria might slow blood clotting. Taking Rauvolfia vomitoria along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Rauvolfia vomitoria might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Some medications, called sedatives, can also cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking Rauvolfia vomitoria with sedative medications might cause breathing problems and/or too much sleepiness.

Stimulant drugs

Interaction Rating=Major Do not take this combination.

Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Rauvolfia vomitoria might also speed up the nervous system. Taking Rauvolfia vomitoria along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with Rauvolfia vomitoria.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Ephedra: Taking Rauvolfia vomitoria along with ephedra might increase or decrease the effects and side effects of ephedra.
Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Rauvolfia vomitoria might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.
Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting: Rauvolfia vomitoria might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include garlic, ginger, ginkgo, nattokinase, and Panax ginseng.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 27/01/2023 20:10:20. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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