Definition of reserpine in US English:



  • A compound of the alkaloid class obtained from Indian snakeroot and other plants and used in the treatment of hypertension.

    • ‘Herbal medicine has contributed aspirin from willow bark, reserpine from snakeroot, taxol from the yew tree, but ‘natural’ is not automatically safe.’
    • ‘What do aspirin, codeine, ipecac, reserpine, scopolamine, theophylline, and vinblastine have in common?’
    • ‘The class includes reserpine and tetrabenazine, which is not sold in the United States, but is used widely in Europe.’
    • ‘Besides reserpine, other alkaloids used in hypertension and other cardiac disorders are ajmaline, rescinnamine, serpentinine, sarpagine, deserpidine, and chandrine.’
    • ‘The patient's medical history should be reviewed for conditions such as hypothyroidism, stroke, or exposure to certain drugs associated with mood changes, such as steroids, reserpine, beta-blockers, and particularly alcohol.’


1950s: from the modern Latin species name R(auwolfia) serp(entina), named after Leonhard Rauwolf (see rauwolfia), + -ine.