CATHARENTHUS ROSEUS (L.) G. Don.

Synonyms: Vinca rosea L., Lochnera rosea (L.) Recichb.

Family: Apocynaceae

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Nayantara.

English Name: Madagascar Periwinkle; Red Periwinkle, Periwinkle.

Description of the Plant

A bushy annual or somewhat suffruticose plant, 0.3-0.6 cm high. Leaves 7-9 cm long, polished, ovate or oblong. Flowers white or deep rose-coloured, usually paired in the leaf axils. Follicles linear, 2.3 cm long.

Using Information

The plant has been used as a folk remedy for diabetes. Leaf juice is applied to wasp-sting; infusion of the leaves is given in menorrhagia. The root is considered tonic and stomachic. The alkaloids isolated from plant possess anticancer properties, among them vincristine and vinblastine are successfully used against leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease. Alkaloids also possess hypotensive, sedative and tranquillizing properties. They also cause relaxation of plain muscles and depression of the central nervous system. Leaves and latex are given for blood dysentery and piles in Khagrachari.

Alcoholic extract of the leaves exhibited significant antibacterial activities against Vibrio cholerae (Khan, 2000). Aquous and methanolic extracts of the fresh leaves have been shown to possess significant hypolipidemic activity in mice (Ghani, 2003).

Chemical Constituents

The plant contains more than 100 indole alkaloids which are distributed in all parts, but more concentrated in the roots, the bark of the pink variety contains up to 9% of total alkaloids. These alkaloids include the clinically most important bis-indole alkaloids, vinblastine (vinleukoblastine), vincristine (vinleurocristine), vinleurosine and vinrosidine having leukopenic activity and vincarodine, vincoline, vincathicine, vincubine and the antimitotic alkaloids leurocolombine, vinamidine.

Leaves contain small percentages of leurosine, isoleurosine, perivine, mitraphylline, lochnerine, perosine, sitsirikine, vincamicine, perividine, canvincine, vindolicine, etc. Roots contain more than 24 alkaloids including vincamicine, catharine, vinceine, d-yohimbine (ajmalicine), vincodolicine, vindoricine, vinosidine, lochnerivine, leurosivine, cavincine, lochnericine, alstonine, vincaline I and II and serpentine. The plant also contains two secoiridoid glucosides monoterpene glycosides, ß-sitosterol, ursolic, loganic and oleanolic acids (Ghani, 2003).

Distribution

Commonly grown in gardens.


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