Rustom Jal Vakil: his contributions to cardiology

Tex Heart Inst J. 2006;33(2):161-70.


Rustom Jal Vakil returned to India in 1938 after earning his medical degree from the University of London and focused on the treatment of heart ailments at a time when cardiology was not a distinct subspecialty in India. In 1949, after years of scrupulous collation and analysis of data, he published a watershed paper on the antihypertensive properties of Rauwolfia serpentina and effected a paradigm shift in the management of hypertension. Rauwolfia was the world's 1st successful blood-pressure-lowering agent, and its acceptance encouraged research scientists to pursue the development of other hypotensive drugs. Vakil was a prolific researcher whose contributions to Indian cardiovascular epidemiology--and to the whole of medical literature--were enormous. He was also a fine clinician with a remarkable gift for communication, be it with his patients, students, peers, or the lay public. All of this came together to make him the embodiment of a medically competent India.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiology / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • India
  • Phytotherapy / history*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Rauwolfia*


  • Plant Preparations

Personal name as subject

  • Rustom Jal Valik