Catharanthus roseus plant is a herbaceous, evergreen, perineal flowering plant that grows 0.5-1.5 feet tall. The bush spreads 0.5-1.5 feet across. The leaves are oval to oblong 2.5-9 cm long and 1-3.5 cm broad. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs.
The flowers are white or dark pink with a dark center. The basal tube is 2.5-3 cm long, and the corolla is 2-5 cm. The leaves are glossy and hairless. The midrib is pale. The petiole is 1-1.8 cm long. The flower has five lobes that resemble petals. The bloom period begins from June and goes until winter begins. Vincristine, Rosinidin, and vinblastine are the drugs extracted from this plant.
The common name is Madagascar periwinkle. Other names include Vinca, old maid, vinca rosea and rose periwinkle. In Hindi we call it Sadabahar.
Botanical name and family
The botanical name is Catharanthus roseus. It belongs to Apocynaceae family.
Geographical places where Catharanthus roseus plant grows
It is native to Sri Lanka, India, and Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean. You find it in many tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world such as in South Africa and Australia. In the United States, the plant flourishes in Florida, Mississippi, and South Carolina. In India, you find it Odisha, Gujrat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Tamilnadu.
Catharanthus roseus medicinal use for curing diseases
In both Indian and Chinese medicine, the extract from the shoot and the roots have been in use since olden times. This extract is poisonous but effective against a variety of diseases such as malaria and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Asthma: When the airways narrow, and restrict the movement of air, the Catharanthus roseus will ease the inflammation. They will open the passage for the air. Have the crushed leaves in milk daily until the symptoms ease. Find natural ways for asthma relief.
- Flatulence: You can cure the problems of gas by using the juice of the Catharanthus roseus flowers. Add a spoonful of the juice to a glass of lemon juice and have it twice a day. This will stimulate the bowel movement so that all the gas-producing bacteria is pushed out of the intestines. Within two days, you will be free of the gas problem.
- Tuberculosis: This is an infection that affects the lungs. Left untreated, it can prove fatal. Catharanthus roseus helps to ease the symptoms of a cough and thus prevents the spread of the disease. The extract of the plant seems to strengthen the immune system and thus help alleviate the symptoms of tuberculosis.
- Cure a sore throat: This cure is popular in Central and South America. You can treat a sore throat, chest congestions and ailments, and laryngitis. The main effect of the plant extract is in clearing the airways. It helps the person to achieve enough movement of the air. Further, it has good antibacterial and anti-inflammatory nature.
- Dyspepsia: This is an uncomfortable feeling of stomach bloating, nausea, and fullness that may be accompanied by heartburn. If you have the decoction boiled with ghee, you will get relief from dyspepsia. Have one spoon of the decoction immediately after your meal. This should take care of the problem.
- Use against cancer: This is one of the primary uses of this plant. It helps prevent the spread of cancer. The extract of the plant binds to the cancer cells and kills them. The patients are given cancer pills that contain the extract. This is especially effective against lung cancer.
- Laryngitis: When the cause for your laryngitis is bacteria, you can cure it with the extract of Catharanthus roseus. It will take care of the inflammation of the larynx and give you good relief. Take 1 teaspoon of the extract with 2 teaspoons of honey early in the morning and just before going to bed.
- Treat wasp stings: This is one of the most common use for this plant. In fact, you can treat almost all types of stings with the extract of Catharanthus roseus. This application will reduce the swelling and protect from infection due to the bite. Just squeeze the juice of the leaves on the skin where you have the sting.
- Indigestion: The plant is a stomachic. It helps strengthen the stomach and improve its working. This way, it augments the digestion and improves the strength of the metabolic system. You get relief from various stomach disorders. When your stomach begins to act up, have the extract of the plant with tea after your breakfast. Take 1 teaspoon of the extract in 1 cup of black tea.
- Arrest bleeding: You can use the poultice of the leaves on the skin when you have external bleeding. It helps women with scanty menses. They use a douche with the infusion they prepare from the leaves.
- Eyewash for infants: This is a good way to give eye protection for newborns and infants. A few drops of the Vinca rosea plant juice is added to warm water. A soft cloth is dipped in the water and used to wipe the eyes. This helps protect it from infections.
- Diabetes: The extract is used for treating and controlling the sugar level in diabetic patients. These people are given the extract along with their meals, and their blood sugar level is monitored. When there is a change, the amount of the plant extract is reduced to suitable levels.
- Malaria: The Vinca rosea plant juice shows remarkable antipyretic properties. One can use the plant decoction too if one has malaria. It fights the fever and makes the person normal again.
- High blood pressure: For those who suffer from high blood pressure, the best thing is to use the extract of the plant as a treatment option. The extract of Catharanthus roseus will dilate the walls of the blood vessel and bring down the blood pressure. You should have the extract both in the morning and the night.
Grazing animals have been reported to have felt the effects of the poison that is inherent in the plant. Having too much of the plant extract can lead to kidney problems. A few people reported nervousness as a side effect. Do not use this without the advice of a medical expert.