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Product details : Cape Periwinkle

  • Seed, Root, Whole plant, Leaf

Botanical Name(s)
Family Name
Kingdom
Division
Class
Order
Family
Tribe
Genus
Species

Vinca Rosea (Catharanthus roseus)
Apocynaceae
Plantae
Magnoliophyta (Flowering plants)
Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)
Gentianales
Apocynaceae
Alsloniae
Catharanthus
C. roseus


Popular Names
Rose Periwinkle, Madagascar Periwinkle, Sadabahar, Old Maid
Nithya Kalyani, Shavamnari

Parts Used

Seed, Root, Whole plant, Leaf

Habitat

Grows throughout India and found as an escape in waste places and sandy tracts

Description

Cape periwinkle is an attractive, evergreen shrub, bearing graceful pink or white salverform flowers. The plant is native to southeastern and eastern Madagascar. It gained world recognition after the European colonists exported it as an ornamental plant. Cape periwinkle can grow in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The glossy leaves of the plant are oval to oblong in shape and arranged in opposite pairs, with a pale midrib and a short petiole. The flowers usually have five petal-like lobes in it.

The blooms of the wild periwinkle are a pale pink, with a purple "eye" in the center. The plant can grow very well in poor and well-drained soils and will suffer if the soil is very healthy or too fertile. You have to pinch back the buds early in the season, to encourage branching and a fuller plant. Madagascar periwinkle doesn't need deadheading - the flowers drop off when they finish blooming. The plant has been a boon in the treatment of many ailments, especially leukemia occurring in children. However, it can be easily infected by phytoplasmas that causes the leaves to reduce in size.

Plant Chemicals

It contains more than 70 alkaloids mostly of the indole type. It has medicinal importance owing to the presence of alkaloids like ajamalicine, serpentine and reserpine vinblastine.

Uses & Benefits of Cape Periwinkle

  • The Chinese used Cape periwinkle for making herbal medicine that was used in the treatment of numerous diseases, like diabetes, Hodgkin's disease and malaria.
  • The plant possesses chemical substances like vinblastine and vincristine, which help in the treatment of leukemia in children and lymphoma.
  • The group of alkaloids present in it can be potentially used in the treatment of cancer. However, the alkaloids have certain side effects on the body.
  • The root bark of Cape periwinkle has been used traditionally for its calming effect and its ability to reduce blood pressure, as it contains the alkaloid Alstonine.
  • It is also used in the treatment of menstrual problems, constipation and asthma.

Caution

  • Cape periwinkle is poisonous in nature and hence, it should not be ingested and smoked. The plant is reported to cause poisoning in grazing animals.
  • Though the plant has been used in the treatment of cancer by doctors, it has yielded undesirable side effects.
  • It can be hallucinogenic, if consumed orally. In addition, it can also cause kidney or nerve problem. Hence, only low dosage of the plant should be taken, that too under the supervision of doctor.