Periwinkle (Vinca major)

Periwinkle Overview:

Periwinkle was most commonly used to treat cognitive decline, heart disease, and topically for bruises. The active constituent vincamide, has been shown to lower heart rate, reduce muscle spasms, and has a vasodilating action on the cerebral arteries.

Due mainly to the last action, vincamide and its semi-synthetic counterpart vinpocetine have become popular additions to nootropic formulas.


Herbal Actions:

  • Astringent
  • Nootropic
  • Vasodilator

Main Uses:

Periwinkles main use as a whole herb is for digestive complaints, mouth ulcers, menorrhagia, and metorrhagia. The concentrated extract of vincamide, or the semi-synthetic alkaloid vinpocetine is a common ingredient in nootropic formulas.


Daily Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

xxx mL

Weekly Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

xxx mL


Part Used

Whole plant, Concentrated extract

Family Name



Southern Europe
Northern Africa
United States
New Zealand

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Constituents of Interest

  • Vincamine
  • Indole alkaloids

Common Names

  • Periwinkle
  • Greater Periwinkle

Botanical Info:

Periwinkle is a member of the apocynaceae family of plants, which includes everything from trees, to shrubs, to herbs, to succulents, to vines. There are as much as 5100 species in this family as a whole. Periwinkle is a spreading, sub-shrubby, vine. It trails along the ground and forms clumping groups of plant material.


Research Overview:

Still compiling research

Level Of Research:


Clinical Applications Of Periwinkle:

The most well studied, and arguably the best use of periwinkle, is for its nootropic benefit from the concentrated extract of vincamide or vinpocetine. They are sued to improve memory and cognition, and amelliorate or prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of demetia.

The indole alkaloids in the plant have also been found beneficial for cancers, however, more research is needed to understand these mechanisms.



None noted.


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For a list of references, visit the full periwinkle monograph.