Periwinkle Summary:

Periwinkle contains an alkaloid known as vincamide, which has a number of actions within the body. It's hypotensive, negatively chronotropic (lowers heart rate), spasmolytic, and hypoglycemic. It's a common addition to nootropic formulas for its ability to increase cerebral circulation, and thus improve cognitive function. More commonly, however, a semi-synthetic version of this alkaloid known as vinpocetine is used. Both are effective at improving cerebral circulation.

Periwinkle is used in its whole plant form for circulatory conditions, cognitive decline, to support brain metabolism, memory loss, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, bladder infections, gastritis, diarrhea, and to help weaning children.

It was used topically in the past to treat bruises, abscesses, eczema, and to stop bleeding. 

Botanical Name

Vinca major
Vinca minor



Part Used

Whole Plant Used

Herbal Actions:

  • Astringent
  • Nootropic
  • Vasodilator
Vinca major monograph periwinkle

This monograph is still under construction. Send us a message if you would like us to move this one up the to-do list. 


Tincture (1:5)

3-6 mL/day

Recommended Source



  • Excessive menstrual flow
    • both menorrhagia and metorrhagia
  • Blood in the urine
  • Digestive complaints
    • Colitis
    • Diarrhea
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bleeding gums
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Sore throat
  • To improve blood flow to the brain
  • In nootropic formulas


  • Inflammation

Traditional Uses:

Still compiling data.

    Botanical Description:

    Vinca major and Vinca minor are both trailing, creeping vines that form thick clumps of plant material. 

    Habitat Ecology, and Distribution:

    Periwinkle originates from Southern Europe and Northern Africa. It has spread all over the world, however, and has become an invasive species in Australia, The United States, and New Zealand. 

    Harvesting Collection, and Preparation:

    Still compiling research. 


    Indole alkaloids, tannins [1]. 

    Other, similar species, inluding 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. 

    Pharmacology and Medical Research:

    Still compiling research. 



    No drug interactions of side effects noted of the whole plant [1].  



    None reported. 

    Traditional Chinese Medicine:

    Still compiling research. 


    Still compiling research. 

    Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary


    Justin Cooke

    The Sunlight Experiment

    Updated July 2017

    Recent Blog Posts:


    1. Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. (Pg. 594).