Madagascar Periwinkle – Uses and Benefits of Catharanthus Roseus
A variety of herbs have traditionally been used in the treatment of diseases since time immemorial. Medicinal plants rich in health-beneficial properties are also used in Ayurvedic medicine. In this article, we will give you a brief overview of Madagascar periwinkle- one of the best medicinal flowering plants found in almost all parts of the world and in India and Assam.
What is Periwinkle?
Madagascar periwinkle is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant. The plant species belong to the genus ‘Catharanthus’ and the family ‘Apocynaceae’. This plant is called ‘Sadabahar’ in Hindi. The scientific name of this plant is – ‘Catharanthus’.
The Madagascar periwinkle plant is also known as the “evergreen” flower. It is a famous flowering plant that has secured its place in both modern medicine and traditional herbal remedies. Madagascar periwinkle has a wide range of health benefits and can be used to reduce the risk of diabetes, neck pain, shortness of breath, skin infections, eye inflammation, hypertension and many other health risks. Catharanthus Roseus is also used to treat cancer. It is also used as a remedy for ear problems, and to reduce lung congestion and accumulation of fluid by increasing the amount of urine secretion. Some people use Madagascar periwinkle to stop bleeding.
Where is it found?
The Madagascar periwinkle plant species is native to Madagascar. It’s a perennial herbal plant blooming all year depending on the climate. The plant type thrives in hot sunny and highly humid climatic regions. But this plant can also be found in gardens, coastal habitats and sandy habitats, inland riverbanks, dry waste, roadside, open forests and usually sandy soils and sometimes rocky outcrops. In many places, eye-catching flowering plants are also grown as ornamental and medicinal plants. This plant is found in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the continent of Africa as well as many other places. Assam also has a rich growth of this plant in almost all parts of the land.
What does it look like?
Madagascar periwinkle is an evergreen plant with smooth, slightly hairy, simple, or slightly branched, about 1-2 m tall. The stems of the Madagascar periwinkle plant are up to 60 cm long and are narrowly winged, and greenish-red in color. The leaves are oval, 2.5-9 cm long, and 1-3.5 cm wide glossy green. The flowers are bisexual, white, purple, and pink with five petals. Fruits are composed of 2 tubular follicles with 10-20 seeds of green color 2-4.5 cm long. The seeds are 2-3 mm long, oblong, furrowed, and black in color.
The chemical substance of Madagascar periwinkle/ Catharanthus roseus
Different regional names of Madagascar periwinkle
- English: Periwinkle, Madagascar Periwinkle
- Hindi: Sadabahar
- Sanskrit: Kuru Karma
- Kannada: Shatapushpa, Nitya Pushpa
- Malayalam : Shavam Nari
- Marathi: Sadaphuli
- Bengali: Nayan Tara
- Assamese: Noyon Tora
- Telugu: Billa Ganneru
- Mizo: Kumtluang
- Nepali: Baaliramaase Phool
Scientific classification of Madagascar periwinkle/Catharanthus roseus
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Clade: Tracheophytes
- Clade: Angiosperms
- Clade: Eudicots
- Clade: Asterids
- Order: Gentianales
- Family: Apocynaceae
- Genus: Catharanthus
- Species: C. Roseus
- Scientific name: Catharanthus roseus
Benefits of Madagascar periwinkle
Madagascar periwinkle is traditionally used in many Asian folk medicines to treat diabetes. In the Philippines and China, this herb is infused for a few minutes and consumed daily to help control insulin levels in the body and reduce high blood pressure.
2. Can help in blood secretion:
Madagascar periwinkle is known for its ability to control the bleeding. The oil extracted from the leaves of this plant can help to heal bleeding from the nose and gums. It can also be used to ease bleeding hemorrhoids. Being a good styptic by nature, this herbal plant helps in controlling excessive bleeding during menstruation and menopause.
3. Boosts Memory:
The leaves and seeds of the Madagascar periwinkle plant contain good amounts of Vincamine which is an alkaline associated with enhanced memory and enhanced cognitive function. This help to increase blood circulation to the brain, aids in brain metabolism, improves mental productivity, prevents memory loss and increases the ability to think by preventing the aging of brain cells. Catharanthus Roseus helps in preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Cancer disease:
Madagascar periwinkle is one of the popular herbal remedies used for cancer including Leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, Malignant lymphomas, Neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor and Kaposi’s sarcoma. When this plant is consumed as a tea, this herb helps to prevent the spread of cancer infected cells to the rest of the body. Vincristine in ophthalmic plants is effectively responsible for its anti-cancer properties. It contains Leurosis – dine and Leurosine which help in the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease.
5. Eases stress and anxiety:
Madagascar periwinkle helps in improving blood circulation and lowering blood pressure levels. Thus this herbal remedy can be used effectively in the treatment of anxiety and stress.
6. Good for eyes:
Although research has yet to discover the benefits of the Madagascar periwinkle plant, it has been suggested that this herb may have anti-inflammatory properties in treating eye inflammation.
7. Stimulates better blood circulation:
People who have used Madagascar periwinkle herbs suggest that the mixture prepared from the leaves of this herb can help in improving the circulation of blood and oxygen. In this way this herb can improve your immunity and strength level.
8. Alzheimer’s disease:
Vinpocetine is a chemical derived from vincamine that is commonly found in the leaves of Madagascar periwinkle and seeds of various African plants. It is also used to treat memory loss and mental retardation. In addition, Alzheimer’s patients have been shown to benefit from Madagascar periwinkle.
9. Cures sore throat:
Prepare Madagascar periwinkle in the form of tea and use as gargle for wounds and strep throat infections. Do this once or twice a day, but make sure you don’t overuse it as doing so may be harmful.
10. Skin problems:
Madagascar periwinkle is used locally for the treatment of neck pain, wounds, cancerous sores, eczema, hemorrhage and diarrhea due to its astringent properties.
11. Helps in keeping the heart healthy:
The plant contains alkaloids, reserpine, which is well known for its ability to lower blood pressure. Excessive blood pressure levels can be dangerous for your heart. Therefore, maintaining the balance of blood pressure level protects you from various fatal conditions including heart attack.
12. Cures Mouth Sores:
The Madagascar periwinkle plant has a rich astringent quality that makes it a wonderful antidote for cancer. Use Madagascar periwinkle as a mouth rinse to reduce toxins and inflammation of the mouth and to promote better healing.
Uses of Madagascar periwinkle/Catharanthus roseus
All the parts of this plant including- leaves, flowers, stems, seeds of the plant are used for various medicinal purposes.
- To control diabetes; take 1 teaspoon of Madagascar periwinkle leaf powder with water on an empty stomach regularly. chewing 2-3 leaves of Madagascar periwinkle plant controls sugar level but it should not be consumed excessively as excessive use of it is harmful to health.
- For skin problems, apply this herbal plant root powder as a softener to heal cuts and bruises. The benefits of Madagascar periwinkle are found in the milk-like substance (latex) of this plant which can be applied to the itchy area. In case of epilepsy, it is beneficial to apply Madagascar seeds crushed with roasted black pepper. The leaf juice and flower juice of Madagascar prevents the spread of cancer cells in the body and reduces the amount of elevated blood sugar. Similarly, leaf juice, paste, dried leaf powder, leaf oil, flower, flower juice, paste, ship juice and paste are used in different ways to cure various diseases.
Side effects of Madagascar periwinkle/Catharanthus roseus
- Vinca alkyd present in Madagascar periwinkle is harmful to the body if consumed in excess amounts. Side effects such as nausea, vomiting, hair loss, hearing loss, dizziness, hemorrhage, nerve problems, schizophrenia, liver damage, low blood sugar and even overdose can lead to death.
- There is not enough information to know if the uses on skin are completely safe.
- The use of this herb should be avoided by pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
Therefore, it should be used in the right amount considering all the benefits of Madagascar periwinkle, prevention of diseases. This is because excessive use of any medicinal herb can be harmful to health. Although Madagascar periwinkle has many health benefits, people should consult a physician before using it in any treatment of diseases.
This article gives you a brief overview on the Madagascar periwinkle plant; leading to the chemical compounds, uses, disadvantages and benefits of Madagascar periwinkle. We hope that the information contained in this article will help you in various ways. Thank You!