Reserpine is a pharmacologically active alkaloid derivative prepared from the roots of Rauwolfia serpetina, a small shrub growing wild in certain regions of India and other tropical countries.1
It is a crystalline colorless substance which is insoluble in water and moderately soluble in alcohol. Its empirical formula is C33H40O9N2.
This drug has several varied pharmacological effects.2 These consist of hypotension, bradycardia, hypothermia, increase in gastrointestinal motility, myosis, and general tranquilization.3
Because of its effect in lowering blood pressure, it is used in certain hypertensive states by itself and in combination with other drugs.* Some of the undesirable effects of this drug in the human are mental depression,5 diarrhea, and weight gain. Headache, dizziness, and nausea are also reported.1 Nasal stuffiness or "congestion" in varying percentages has been noted by several authors.† This may be relieved by topical vasoconstrictors
BUDNICK IS, LEIKIN S, HOECK LE. Effect in the Newborn Infant of Reserpine Administered ante Partum. AMA Am J Dis Child. 1955;90(3):286-289. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1955.04030010288010