COMMON NAME: Periwinkle
LATIN NAME: Vinca minor
CHINESE NAME: Chang Chun Hua
OROGIN: Europe (Spain, France)
HABITAT: Europe, Asia. The herb was brought to Australia, Africa and the countries of South and North America.
Vinca minor grows in oak-hornbeam, beech, oak, oak-pine forests, among bushes, in glades and forest, forest-steppe regions. It is often cultivated in gardens and parks as an ornamental plant. The plant does not require special care; it can grow on any soil. The plant grows well in shade and in the sun.
BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Vinca minor belongs to Apocynaceae family, to the Vinca genus. Periwinkle is a perennial, evergreen shrub with elliptical, entire, leathery leaves. Vegetative shoots spread along the ground. Flowers are axillary, large and solitary; corolla is tubular-funnel-shaped. The color of corolla is intense blue or dark blue.
The taste of Periwinkle is very bitter. The plant has brown seeds. The leaves are dark green, shiny, wintering, with a sharp tip. The rhizome is thin and horizontal. Periwinkle propagates mainly by vegetative shoots. It blooms in May and rarely bears fruit.
CHEMICAL COMPASITION: Vinca minor contains 20 alkaloids that are similar in nature to reserpine, including minorin, vinin, pubicin, vincamine, isovinkamin, vincaminorpin, isomaidin, aquamycin, devincan. It also contains flavonoids, bitter and tannins, saponins, vitamins C, carotene, rutin. The herb also contains ursolic acid, flavonoid glycoside - robinin. The interest of scientists to the study of Vinca minor alkaloids is associated with their similarity in chemical terms with reserpine, which is a highly effective agent.
ACTIONS: Herbal preparations from Periwinkle and the amount of alkaloids in its compasition possess anticancer, astringent, antiasthmatic, antibacterial, antidiabetic, antifungal, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antitumor , antiviral, cardio tonic, depurative, detoxicant, diaphoretic, diuretic, hemostatic, purgative, tonic, vermifuge actions on human’s body.
The plant is considered poisonous, so it can only be used as directed by the doctor. Treatment without consulting a specialist can be dangerous.
Overdose of drugs from Periwinkle leads to inhibition of the cardiovascular system, which can even cause death.
There is a case of possible allergic reaction to the plant ( rash, itching, swelling and redness of the skin). If these symptoms appear, stop taking and consult a specialist.
Do not use Periwinkle during pregnancy and breast-feeding period.
For the first time it is mentioned in written sources by Pliny. Since ancient times, there have been many legends about Periwinkle. Many years ago, people told fortune, using the wreaths of the plant. Also, women hung a wreath at the porch in the houses where the girls lived to attract good suitors. It was also used as a decoration at weddings, because this flower symbolized longevity and prosperity. Often it is used in the preparation of the loaf and as a decoration in the house of the bride and groom.
Attractive and pretty blue flowers of Vinca became favorite for Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In his youth, he first became acquainted with a flowering plant in Charmette during a walk with Louise de Varan, and carefully examined the Periwinkle only when he met again with the plant 30 years later - in 1764 in Crecy. In France, this plant is known as the flower of Rousseau.
In Germany, this flower symbolizes the end of winter, the onset of spring, and is associated with renewal and purification. This is the first plant that blooms after snow melts.
Now Periwinkle is used as an ornamental plant in urban parks and gardens.
Another name for Periwinkle was a grave and a grass coffin, because this plant was used to decorate graves.
*Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.