The Health Benefits and side effects of Vinca Plant

The Health Benefits and Side effects of Vinca

            Vinca plant also known as periwinkle with a scientific name Catharanthus roseus is a very common plant that is known to be a native of West Indies and is comfortably grown in Asia, West African, Southern Europe and North America. Surprisingly it is an endangered plant in the wild because of slashes and burn cultivation.

            This plant is mainly used in Chinese Traditional Medicine and Ayurveda for its anti-tumor effects. This herb contains 2 types of active compound such alkaloids and tannins, and about 150 alkaloids are isolated chemically, and particularly an interesting group of about 20 bisindole alkaloids which contains those having anti-neoplastic activity, including leurocristine (vincristine) and vincaleukoblastine (vinblastine) which have some health importance.


             Vinca is mainly used against certain types of cancer such as Leukaemia and Lymphoma and Hodgkin Disease. It has a marked cytotoxic effect and makes it effective against growing cancers either alone or in combination with other drugs in chemotherapy.

             Despite serious safety concerns, periwinkle is used for brain health (increasing blood circulation in the brain, supporting brain metabolism, increasing mental productivity, preventing memory problems).

            It is also used for treating diarrhoea, throat aliments, tonsillitis, chest pain, intestinal pain and swelling (inflammation) and water retention (edema). It is also used for promoting wound healing, improving the way the immune system defends the body.

How to use:

          Vinca alkaloid extracts are available as tinctures which must be used only under medical supervision because the doses are highly specific and can be dangerous if taken excess.

Side effect

          Vinca generally causes side effects such as vomiting, headache, nausea, bleeding and fatigue.


Periwinkle is potentially toxic and has been known to cause dyspnea.

         The related Vinca minor has been declared “unsafe” for human consumption by the FDA.


  •        Evans, W.C. Trease and Evans Pharmacognosy, 16th ed; Elsevier, New York, 2009.
  •       Duke J.A. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, Boca Raton, FL; CRC Press, 1985.

Disclaimer: The topic provided on this blog is for information purpose only and is meant to supplement, and not to replace advice from your doctor or Health provider. This information does not cover all Side effects and method of use. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop or change a treatment that is right for you  

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