Common periwinkle

Common periwinkle

Common periwinkle

Specification & Spread

Common periwinckle herb — herba vincae minoris
Common periwinckle — vinca minor
Dogbane family — аросупасеае
Other names: running myrtle, lesser periwinkle.

It has an evergreen shrub 20-35 cm tall with a thin horizontal rhizome.
It has two types of shoots: vertically located generative and vegetative flagellum.

The leaves are opposite, short, oblong-elliptic and leathery.
The flowers are axillar, pentamerous, with double perianth, single, blue and on long pedicels. The corolla is funnel-shaped and dark blue colour.
The fruit s a two-leaf with small seeds.

It blooms from April to September. The fruits are rarely formed.
It is propagated by vegetative shoots.

Spreading. Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, the North Caucasus. The main areas of harvesting – Moldova and the south of Ukraine (Carpathian, Transcarpathia, Khmelnitsky and Vinnitsa region).

Habitat. It grows in hornbeam, oak-hornbeam, oak forests and among the thickets of shrubs.


Common periwinkle contains:

  • about 20 alkaloids – derivatives of indole, the total amount of it is about 2% (vincamine, izovinkamin, reserpine, isoaimalin, aquammicin, vincaminorine, minorin, etc.).

The herb also contains triterpene saponins:

  • flavonoids (rutin, robinin),
  • carotenoids (8 mg%),
  • tannins.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The herb is harvested in spring and early summer (until July) in the flowering phase – fruiting and cutting at a height of 3-5 cm from the soil surface. Then it is cleaned of impurities and delivered to the place of drying.

Security measures. You can not pull out rooted vegetative shoots and pull out plants with roots, as this leads to the destruction of thickets. The harvesting in one place can be carried out no more than 1 time in 3 years.

Drying. Air harvesting is provided under canopies, in attics with good ventilation or in dryers at a temperature of 40-50 °C and spreading a thin layer (3-5 cm). It is better to lay out the herb on a stretched net and gauze. During good weather, the raw material dries in 5-7 days.

Storage. It is stored in dry, well ventilated areas on the shelves.

The raw materials are represented by above-ground shoots with the flowers and leaves.

The stems are bare, cylindrical and up to 30 cm long.

The leaves are oblong-elliptical, short-petiolate, with a solid, slightly wrapped edge on the underside, shiny and leathery. There is weak pubescence on the top side of the leaf on the scapula.

The flowers sare olitary. The calyx is in 2.5 times shorter than the corolla tube and with 5 lanceolate teeth. The corolla is dark blue, tubular-funnel-shaped with reverse triangular limb lamina.

The colour of the leaves above is dark green, below it is lighter.

The stems are light green.

The smell is absent. The taste is not determined(!).


No other types of periwinkle are allowed to be prepared, which have the following distinctive features:

  • herbaceous periwinkle (Vinca herbacea W. et L.) — the leaves are rounded and ovoid, thin, falling down for the winter, the corolla is purple;
  • big-leaf periwinkle (Vinca major L.) — the leaves are ovoid, heart-shaped in winter, azure-colored corolla.

Properties and application

Herbal medicine from common periwinkle herb and the amount of alkaloids possess:

  • vasodilator
  • antihypertensive and
  • weak sedative properties.


  • expands primarily the vessels of the brain,
  • increases cerebral blood flow, improving the supply of oxygen to the brain;
  • increases diuresis;
  • improves the functional state of the myocardium;
  • normalizes blood clotting rates
  • increases plasma anticoagulant activity,
  • strengthens the capillary walls.

Among the alkaloids of common periwinkle found:

  • alkaloids with antiarrhythmic activity, similar to the effect of Aymalin.

The alkaloids of common periwinckle selectively affect the cerebral circulation:

  • removing spasm of the arteries and increasing the tone of the veins,
  • reduce ischemia in cerebral strokes.

Alkaloid vincamine

  • moderately lowers blood pressure and
  • has sedative properties.

The basis of the mechanism of hypotensive action is the ability to lower vascular tone and peripheral vascular resistance and expand the vessels of the brain.

Application of periwinkle

Common periwinkle was used for a long time. It was also known for Pliny and Dioscorida. In the Middle Ages, it was considered a valuable medicinal plant.

The preparations of common periwinkle are applied:

  • with hypertension stage I and II.

It is most effective:

  • with cerebral forms of hypertension,
  • with ischemic cerebral circulation,
  • diencephalic syndromes.

The preparations of common periwinkle are used for headaches of various origins:

  • with organic lesions of cerebral vessels,
  • atherosclerosis,
  • hypertension,
  • ischemia,
  • with vasomotor, vegetative and diencephalic pathology,
  • with increased intracranial pressure,
  • with osteochondrosis.

It is contradicted with bradycardia, as well as during pregnancy and lactation, pediatric use and individual intolerance, hypertension.