Pretty Periwinkle by Lynn Kirkland
Vinca major, or greater periwinkle, takes
its name from the Latin vincire “to bind”.
Whether this refers to its growth habit
or because it was once used to make wreaths
with its long trailing stems, is not clear.
Periwinkle was also once referred to
as “Sorcerer’s Violet” as it was highly
regarded for its healing properties and
thought to have magical effects.
In the Caribbean it is used both to treat
infections and as a protection against
It grows all around the world and is
used in different countries for different
WARNING-do not use periwinkle yourself
as it contains powerful constituents and
this information is solely for interest
not as a recommendation for use.
It has been used as a folk remedy over
the years for everything from diabetes
to controlling bleeding. Some cultures
have used it for cough medicine or to
ease the pain of wasp stings.
Madacascar Periwinkle which has pink
flowers is used in the pharmaceutical
industry to produce medicines to treat
childhood leukemia and other cancers.
This periwinkle contains vincamine which
is the precursor to vinpocetine which
has been proven to increase the blood
flow to the brain.
This pharmaceutical extract has been used
for dementia sufferers and to assist recovery
As a garden plant remember that periwinkle
is a rampant grower and it roots down
where the stems touch the ground.
Great for covering areas under trees but
it can be a little rampant for small tidy
You will see it in flower along the roadsides
scrambling over fences.
It is not a true climber, more of a rambling
You can get white flowered varieties too
and an attractive creamy variegated leaved
one with blue flowers.
Be warned about its promiscuous growth
habits and don’t try curing your self
of anything with this herb.
Enjoy it in your garden or look out for
its pretty flowers when you are driving
in the countryside.
The Herb Farm
Grove Road, RD10