|CATHARANTUS ROSEUS - PERIWINKLE.|
Rose periwinkle, common periwinkle, Madagascar periwinkle, cape periwinkle, old maid.
Apocynaceae (Dogbane family).
Madagascar periwinkle is a common decorative, easy growing and spreading perennial herb with opposite glossy, dark green leaves.
It grows up to a height of 3 feet and flowers year around in the tropics.
The color of the flowers is pink with a purple "eye" in the centers; however, developed varieties have colors from white to purple.
Typical for the Apocynaceae family, the broken stem of Madagascar periwinkle exudes a milky latex sap.
There are also the lesser - or common periwinkle (Vinca minor) and the greater - or big leaf periwinkle (Vinca major). Vinca minor has smaller leaves than Vinca major; they flower all year long.
The Madagascar periwinkle is the source of over 70 different indole alkaloids such as vincristine, vinblastine, alstonine, ajmalicine, leurocristine and reserpine.
It has historically been used to treat a wide range of diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, colds, eye irritations and infections.
Vincristine and vinblastine are very powerful anticancer agents; Vincristine is a standard treatment for Hodgkin's disease while vinblastine is used for childhood leukemia.
Due to increased wound contraction and tensile strength, augmented hydroxyproline content along with antimicrobial activity support the use of this plant in the topical management of wound healing.
Periwinkles also contain the alkaloids reserpine and serpentine, which are powerful tranquilizers.
Suriname's traditional medicine
It is used against malaria, to ease menstruation and as a diaphoretic.
In Surinam and the Caribbean, a solution of the flower extract is used to treat eye infections and irritation.
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USDA zone 8 - 11.
Seeds and cuttings.
Full sun / partial shade; moist, well drained soil.
This plant can withstand drought and can adept well to poor soils.
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