Periwinkle

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Periwinkle (Vinca spp.) and Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus spp.) are both members of the Apocynaceae family. Madagascar periwinkle was formerly classified as a Vinca species (Vinca rosa) but is now classified as a separate species. The two are similar in appearance and are both commonly referred to as "myrtle."
Lesser periwinkle is commonly cultivated for use as ornamental ground cover, though it is considered an invasive weed in some areas of North America and Australia. Madagascar periwinkle is also commonly used as an ornamental plant but thrives only in a subtropical environment where temperatures do not fall below 41ºF (5ºC).
Both species produce alkaloids that have been studied and used as a treatment for treatment of a wide variety of conditions, including diabetes, cancer, hypertension (high blood pressure), and stroke.
The use of periwinkle as a dietary supplement is not recommended, because it contains vinca alkaloids, which may cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and nerves, as well as death.

Related Terms

Apovincamine, Catharanthus alkaloids, Catharanthus roseus, Cavinton®, cezayirmeneksesi (Turkish), common periwinkle, creeping myrtle, cytokinin, deacetylvinblastine, deacetylvinblastine amide, Devincan™, ethyl apovincaminate, ethylene, evergreen, kavinton, lesser periwinkle, Madagascar periwinkle, myrtle, Oncovin®, pervincamine, Rgh-4405, rose periwinkle, small periwinkle, Tcv-3B, terpenoid indole alkaloids, vinblastine, vinca alkaloids, Vinca balcanica, Vinca difformis, Vinca heracea, Vinca major, Vinca minor, Vincae minoris herba, vincamine, vincapervinc, vincristine, vincristine-vinblastine, vindesine, vinorelbin, vinorelbine, vinpocetin, vinpocetine, vinRx, vintoperol, wintergreen.
Note: The use of periwinkle as a dietary supplement is not recommended, because it contains pharmacologically active vinca alkaloids, which may cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and nerves, as well as death.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Cancer (Grade: C)
Although this has not been well studied in humans, the anticancer potential for Madagascar periwinkle (
Dementia (Grade: C)
Periwinkle and compounds found in periwinkle have been used to promote brain health and function. Further research is required.
Hodgkin's disease (Grade: C)
Although this has not been well studied in humans, the anticancer potential for Madagascar periwinkle (
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (Grade: C)
Compounds found in periwinkle have been found to be useful in patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenia (low platelet count). However, studies with the periwinkle plant are lacking. Additional research is needed.
Stroke (Grade: C)
Compounds found in periwinkle have been found to dilate the blood vessels and decrease blood clotting. Thus, they may be of interest as potential treatments for stroke. Additional research is needed.