Periwinkle

(Vinca major)

Where is it found?

            This plant can be found growing below 4,000 feet and can survive with little shade and moisture.  It can be found it the south west, but is not native to the land.

What does it look like?

            Periwinkle is a vine that has oval opposite leaves that are smooth and tough (Moore, 1988).  The “flowers are solitary, violet to violet-blue and an inch across” (Moore, 1988, pg. 85).

What are the medical uses?

            Periwinkle has been used it cancer treatment, child hood leukemia, and Hodgkin’s disease (Delena, 1999).  It has been known to relieve tooth ache when chewed, reduce inflamation, and relieve sore throat and tonsillitis (www.herbnet.com, 2003).  It is also a capillary constrictor, but stimulates peripheral circulation at the same time.  Periwinkle should not be used in high doses and can cause headaches.

What chemicals are in it?

            Periwinkle was found to have some toxic alkaloids, vincin, vincoside, and tannins.