Anti-cancer: Rosy periwinkle

This pretty plant from Madagascar gives us two very important cancer-fighting medicines: vinblastine and vincristine. Vinblastine has helped increase the chance of surviving childhood leukaemia from 10% to 95%, while vincristine is used to treat Hodgkins’ Disease.

Traditional Madagascan healers used the rosy periwinkle for treating diabetes. This led to its study by western scientists who then discovered its anti-cancer properties.

Profit sharing

These medicines have proved very profitable for global drug companies. Worldwide sales are worth over £75 million a year, but virtually none of this money finds its way back to Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Some pharmaceutical companies are trying to redress this imbalance by working closely with ethno-botanists and indigenous healers, and sharing profits more equitably.

There are also recent international agreements which have tried to ensure that more profits from the commercial development of animal and plant species return to the countries of origin.

One such agreement is the Convention on Biological Diversity which seeks the ‘fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources’, together with the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components

20 comments on 'Anti-cancer: Rosy periwinkle'

  1. osayande says:

    How can one have some live specimens of this plant?

  2. Karl Hansen says:

    Why not try your local garden store or nursery?

  3. Junarex Dolendo says:

    you people there!!!! there are two color types of this plant in the Philippines the Pink(Most common) and the stronger tasting one the white petal rosy periwinkle, don’t worry next time i visit this site i will upload pictures of this plant…..

  4. delia says:

    interested on periwinkle medicinal properties and how to use it.

  5. joeny says:

    Does this periwinkle grow in the amazon also?

  6. Athelia Jones says:

    Hello,
    I have an inquiry. Where abouts in the canopy would the Madagascan periwinkle or Rosy periwinkle be found? i need this answer quickly. It is important.
    Thankyou, Athelia Jones.

  7. Karl Hansen says:

    yes, but only transplanted ones, not endemic or native ones!

  8. Rosa Tomsic says:

    You can find this plant during spring and summer in a range of colors from white to dark pink in US nurseries where it is sold by the name of Vinca. For cancer treatment the Vinca plant with white flowers is used in Puerto Rico, where a tea is made using its flowers. There, they only use the white flowers that have the yellow center and not the white flowers with the pink center. They start making the tea with one flower boiling it in 7 oz. of water for no longer than a minute. They drink this tea on an empty stomach once a day. Then they add another flower each day until they reach five flowers on the fifth day. They continue taking the five flowers’ tea until their illness is resolved. It takes between 4 to 5 months for the tumor(s) to disappear. The nice thing is that meantime this tea keeps metastases from taking place. You can also find a Periwinkle extract on the web. 20 to 30 drops of this extract are taken in a glass of water once a day. Both are very effective.

  9. Rosa Tomsic says:

    This important medicinal plant has been given many names creating some confusion. Madagascar periwinkle, ‘sadaphuli’, Catharantus roseus, Vinca rocea or Vinca as it’s known in the United States is used as an alternative treatment for many forms of cancer. This comes as no surprise because Vinca’s cancer killing properties have been recognized by the pharmaceutical industry resulting in the isolation of several Vinca compounds that are currently used by medicine in chemotherapy treatments for childhood leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, testicular cancer and cancerous tumors. Vinca is a treasure chest plant that containins more than 400 known alkaloids!

    If this is not impressive enough, Vinca taken as a daily supplement is known to improve blood supply to the brain, increase oxygen and glucose for the brain to use, prevent abnormal coagulation of blood, and raise brain levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

    There are two classes of active compounds in Vinca: alkaloids and tannins. One important alkaloid is vincamine. A closely related semi-synthetic derivative of vincamine widely used in medicine is known as ethyl-apovincaminate or vinpocetine. It has vasodilating, blood thinning, and memory-enhancing actions shown in double-blind studies to help alleviate a type of dementia known as vascular dementia, in which the arteries supplying blood to the brain develop atherosclerotic plaques.

    Extracts of Vinca have significant anticancer activity against numerous cell types. The greatest activity is seen against multi-drug resistant tumor types which suggest that there are compounds in Vinca rosea that are synergistic or additive with anti-neoplastic elements which help inhibit resistance to these drugs.

    Some people may experience side effects associated with the prolonged use of Vinca flower tea or Periwinkle extract such as hair loss and bouts of urticaria.

  10. suzanne says:

    What about fighting esophageal cancer? is this plant works? My father suffer from this cancer. In Malaysia, there widely periwinkle planted as ornamental plants. It also known as Bunga kemunting Cina, You can get it in various colour of flowers. I just bought a white, light pink, striking pink, light purple and dark purple colours of flowers. How to use it for esophageal cancer? By leave or the flower?

  11. Kristen Bieber says:

    This plant is found at the bottom of the Tropical Rainforest where it can get the enriched nutrients out of the soil, and to also soak up rain in order to survive. This particular plant also helps treat leukemia (a type of cancer ).

  12. swadesh ghosh says:

    is rosy periwinkle plant found or sold in india

  13. toni s says:

    Can this plant be used for kidney tumour

  14. aidriana suckluvur says:

    are they edible

  15. Irene says:

    Need method to use periwinkle to supplement treatment of breast cancer

  16. Alicia says:

    This plant grows every here in Papua New Guinea.Most people here dont know the importance of this plant.It grows anywhere here in my country.

  17. Norah says:

    I agree with Alicia. The periwinkel plant is edible and also it works for me as well. I also pick it from the plant and chew the leaves or the flower. Even boil the leaves for drinking

  18. Emily says:

    This is a weed in south Florida. Everywhere I lived, it was there. It thrives under palmetto trees. You can’t discourage it in south Florida. Have a friend mail you seeds; it seeds profusely.

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At a glance

Distribution and Habitat

Rainforests of south-eastern and eastern Madagascar. Grown ornamentally around the world

Size

Small shrub up to 1m (3’) tall with 2.5-10cm (1-4’’) long leaves

Use

Source of cancer treatment. Madagascan people use it to treat diabetes. Ornamental plant

Scientific name

Catharanthus roseus

Flowers

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