Health Benefits of Sadabahar, Madagascar Periwinkle, or Catharanthus Roseus
About Sadabahar, Madagascar Periwinkle, or Catharanthus roseus
Sadabahar, Madagascar periwinkle, or Catharanthus roseus (formerly known as Vinca rosea) is an evergreen shrub that is commonly grown worldwide both as an ornamental plant and for medicinal purposes. It is a commonly grown plant in India and is native to Madagascar. The Catharanthus roseus plant grows to about three feet in height; has smooth, glossy, dark green leaves; and flowers throughout the year.
There are two varieties that are grown for their medicinal value—the pink-colored and white-colored flower varieties. The medicinal variety has white flowers, and the pink flowers have a dark pink eye in the center. Ornamental varieties have been developed whose flowers are more colorful.
Latin names: Cantharanthus roseus, formerly Vinca rosea or Lochnera rosea.
Indian names: Sadabahar, Sadapushpi, Sadaphuli, Baramasi, etc.
Common names: Periwinkle, vinca, rosy periwinkle, Madagascar periwinkle, Cape periwinkle, old maid, etc.
Please consult with a medical professional before using Catharanthus roseus. Due to the presence of vinca alkaloids in Catharanthus roseus, it is unsafe to consume orally, and if taken in large quantities, can be deadly.
Madagascar periwinkle can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, seizures, and liver damage, among other side effects, when consumed orally. If you are taking lithium or medication for diabetes, there may be interactions with Madagascar periwinkle.
Catharanthus roseus contains two classes of active compounds, the alkaloids and the tannins. More than 100 alkaloids have been found in this plant, and vincristine and vinblastine are most notable for their medicinal benefits.
Sadabahar, or the Catharanthus roseus plant, has been used both in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. The leaves, flowers, and roots are used in Ayurvedic medicine. Chinese medicine uses the extracts of the plant to treat conditions such as diabetes, malaria, leukemia, and Hodgkin's disease.
In traditional medicine, the leaf juice has been used to treat wasp stings; a gargle is used for sore throats, and flower extracts are used for infants' eyewash. Periwinkle tea is used to treat diabetes and cough.
For wasp bites, apply the juice of the leaves at the spot. It helps to neutralize the poison, prevents swelling, and relieves pain.
Some of the health benefits of Sadabahar, periwinkle, or the Catharanthus roseus plant are:
- The leaves and stems are a source of alkaloids that have anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
- The leaves are used in folk medicine to control diabetes and high blood pressure.
- The alkaloids may also offer sedative and tranquilizing properties.
- It can relieve muscle pain and depression.
- Because of its properties of detoxification and counteracting poison, it is used to relieve wasp stings.
- Sadabahar can help to control nosebleeds, bleeding gums, mouth ulcers, and sore throats.
- The Catharanthus roseus plant has been thought to increase brain health. Its active ingredients are thought to improve blood supply to the brain, increasing the level of oxygen that the brain can utilize. It is also thought to raise serotonin levels and prevent abnormal coagulation of blood.
- The alkaloid vincamine is thought to have memory-enhancing properties, and it is found in medications in Europe that treat primary degenerative and vascular dementia.
Note: The health benefits of this plant are a result of proper cultivation and extraction. The plant itself is toxic and can be deadly if consumed in large quantities.
Varieties of Sadabahar, Periwinkle, or Catharanthus Roseus PlantClick thumbnail to view full-size
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly