Lesser Periwinkle is an evergreen perennial plant with elliptical, entire, leathery leaves. In Latvia, this is a showy plant that has gone wild from the gardens - a garden escapee. Vegetative shoots creep along the surface of the ground and take root, flower stalks erect. Flowers large, solitary, with five per petal, intense blue or dark blue.
The taste of Lesser Periwinkle is bitter. Seeds brown in color. The leaves are dark green, shiny, wintering with a pointed tip. Rhizome thin, horizontal. It reproduces mainly vegetatively. Blooms in May, ripens fruit rarely.
Harvest the plant in late autumn or early June - during the flowering period. It can also be harvested later, only then the plant will have significantly less valuable substances. The plant harvested in August-September is not valuable from a medicinal point of view. The plant is cut 3-5 cm above the ground. Collect the plant in one place no more often than once in 3 years. In no case should the plant be pulled by the whole root, it will kill the plant.
Dry the drug in the attic on sieves, spread out in a thin layer (3-5 cm). It is also possible to dry it in forced dryers, not exceeding 45-50C.
By creating good drying conditions, the plant dries in 5-7 days.
Lesser Periwinkle is best stored in ventilated and dry rooms. The plant can be stored for no longer than 2 years. When collecting, drying and storing this plant, you should observe safety measures - use gloves and a respirator, because the plant is highly poisonous.
The plant contains around 20 alkaloids from the indole group, which are close to reserpine by nature, the total amount of which is 2% (vincamine, isovincamine, vincaminorine, minorine, vinine, pubescine, ervamine, etc.) The plant also contains triterpene saponins, rutin, carotene (8mg %), tannins, organic acids (malic acid, succinic acid), phytosterols, sugar and mineral salts, ursolic acid, flavonoid glycoside - robinin.
Lesser Periwinkle is actively used in modern pharmacy, creating various preparations for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The alkaloids in the plant are useful for dilating blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. There are some preparations from this plant that help relieve migraines and remove blood vessel spasms. Basically, preparations of this plant are prescription drugs.
Preparations of this plant are more often used in the treatment of oncological diseases.
There is such a plant as the rosy catharante (Vinca Rosea Linn L.), which contains antitumor alkaloids that act cytostatically. Of these, vinblastine and vincristine. Its cytostatic properties slow down the progress of the disease. The special composition of the plant reduces the symptoms of tissue damage.
Young Lesser Periwinkle root is used in case of avitaminosis, diarrhea, dysentery, but it is important to follow the exact dosage - otherwise, it can also endanger life. It is recommended to use this plant together with other plants - in mixtures.
Lesser Periwinkle has been used in folk medicine for several centuries. In case of diseases of the cardiovascular system and high blood pressure, a decoction of dry leaves is prepared by letting it steam, then it is used 3 times a day. Often the effect of the plant appears immediately, but you must remember that it is poisonous and you should not overdo it.
A decoction of Lesser Periwinkle helps with toothaches and oral ulcers. It can also be used to rinse the throat, in case of prolonged angina - the product is prepared concentrated, so it is forbidden to swallow it.
Alcoholic extracts of Lesser Periwinkle help to treat impotence, a couple of drops a day will help to restore male strength. This remedy will also help fight migraines and improve well-being. A decoction of Lesser Periwinkle also stops bleeding. Stops diarrhea and intestinal bleeding.
External decoctions and poultices are useful for wound healing. Compresses help to get rid of psoriasis and eczema. It can also be used against burns. Applications need to be made regularly, the effect appears after 3-4 applications.
Lesser Periwinkle lowers arterial blood pressure, expands the blood vessels of the heart and brain, and relaxes the musculature of the small intestine. In folk medicine, it is used as a tonic, as well as in cases of impotence and infertility. Lesser Periwinkle preparations are recommended for impotence caused by chronic prostatitis.
Lesser Periwinkle is a poisonous plant and its use should be dosed.