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.
- Bleeding gums
- Mouth ulcers
- Sore throat
- To improve blood flow to the brain
- None noted
Herb Details: Periwinkle
- Whole plant, concentrated extract
- Southern Europe
Constituents of Interest
- Indole Alkaloids
- Greater Periwinkle
Duration of Use
- Avoid long-term use in therapeutic doses.
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.
Habitat Ecology, & Distribution:
Periwinkle originates from Southern Europe and Northern Africa.
This herb has since spread itself all over the world and become an invasive species in Australia, The United States, and New Zealand.
Indole alkaloids, tannins .
Other, similar species, including Catharanthus roseus, another member of the Apocynaceae family and aptly named "Madagascar periwinkle," has a similar indole alkaloid content, as well as tryptamine and other active constituents.
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.
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(Updated may 2019)
Recent Blog Posts:
Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. (Pg. 594).