Catharanthus roseus

Synonym ► Vinca rosea L. Lochnera rosea (L.) Reichub.

Family ► Apocynaceae.

Cayratia carnosa (Wall.) Gagnep.

Habitat ► Commonly grown in Indian gardens.

English ► Madagascar Periwinkle (Vinca major L. Pich. and Vinca minor Linn. are known as Greater Periwinkle and Lesser Periwinkle respectively).

Folk ► Sadaabahaar, Nayantaaraa, Nityakalyaani.

Action ► The cytotoxic dimeric alkaloids, present in Madagascar Periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus L. Don, Vincea rosea L., and used for the treatment of certain type of cancer, have not been found in V. major.

Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar Periwinkle) : cytostatic, anti-neoplas-tic, slows down growth of cells by su-pressing immune response. Vinblas-tine and Vincristine are said to prolong remission of leukaemia to more than five years. These chemotherapeutic agents are toxic to the nervous system. Vinblastine is also used for breast cancer and Hodgkin's disease.

Vinca major L. Pich. (Greater Periwinkle): astringent, anti-haemorrha-gic; used for menorrhagia and leu-corrhoea. Contains indole alkaloids including reserpinine and serpentine; tannins.

Vinca minor Linn. (Lesser Periwinkle): astringent; circulatory stimulant. Leaves—stomachic and bitter. Root— hypotensive. Used for gastric catarrh, chronic dyspepsia, flatulence; also for headache, dizziness, behaviours disorders. A homoeopathic tincture is given for internal haemorrhages.

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