Have you heard the name of this wonderful plant periwinkle? You have already known about the health beneficiaries and how precious this plant is to the human. Today, on this relevant topic let’s talk about how economic is the cultivation of periwinkle and its health benefits. Let’s dig in!!
Catharanthus roseus commonly known as Madagascar periwinkle or rosy periwinkle is a species of flowering plant residing in family Apocynaceae. It is native to Madagascar, but grown else where as an ornamental and medicinal plant, as a source of drugs Vincristine and Vinblastine (drug used to cure cancer). It was formally included in the genus Vinca as Vinca rosea.
Periwinkle can be cultivated in both tropical, sub-tropical and sub temperate climate with a rainfall distribution of 100-120 cm. It prefers the light sandy loam soil which is rich in humus content for its commercial cultivation. But it should be kept in mind how the water lodging and alkaline condition of the soil is, as it is not suitable for the economic cultivation of this plant.
Like any other flowering plant, it can be propagated through fresh and viable seeds or vegetative through cutting. A well-prepared nursery bed is required for raising healthy seedling. Its cultivation is best suited on May-July with a spacing of 45×30 cm.
Periwinkle contains more than 100 alkaloids distributed through all the parts of the plant. The commercially important alkaloids are Raubacine, Ajmalicine, Reserpine from the roots and Catharanthine, Vinblastine and Vincristine from the leaves.
- The plant has been widely used as purgative (controlling vomiting), antidiabetic, diuretic (increasing the amount of urination), haemorrhagic (controlling internal bleeding), antimalaria, anti-dysentric, antispasmodic (supressing involuntary contraction of muscles) and cancer therapy.
- Vinblastine sulphate extracted from periwinkle is used in treatment of cancer of breast, lungs and testes.
- It is also used as leukaemia.
- The leaves are used as antidiabetic, sedative and hypotensive (lowering blood pressure).
- It is also used to cure blood cancer. Raubiacine, Ajmalicine, Serpentine and Reserpine are used to control high blood pressure.