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Health Benefits of Sadabahar, Periwinkle, or Vinca Rosea

Latin name : 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.

Sadabahar or periwinkle is a very commonly grown plant in India. It is native to Madagascar. There are 2 varieties that are grown for its medicinal value – the pink and the white colored flower varieties.

Ornamental varieties have been developed whose flowers are more colorful.

Sadabahar, periwinkle or vinca rosea is an evergreen shrub that is commonly grown worldwide both as an ornamental plant and for medicinal purposes. The vinca rosea plant grows to about 3 feet in height having smooth, glossy, dark green leaves, and flowers throughout the year.

The medicinal variety has white flowers and the pink flowers have a dark pink eye in the center.

Health Benefits

Vinca rosea contains 2 classes of active compounds, the alkaloids and the tannins. More than 100 alkaloids have been found in this plant of which vincristine and vinblastine are most notable for their medicinal benefits.

Sadabahar or the Vinca rosea plant has been used both in Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese medicine. The leaves, flowers and roots are used in Ayurvedic medicine. Chinese medicine uses the extracts of the plant for diseases 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, flower extracts are used for infants’ eyewash. Periwinkle tea is used to treat diabetes and cough.

Some of the health benefits of Sadabahar, periwinkle or vinca rosea plant are :

  • The leaves and stems are a source of alkaloids that have anti tumor and anti cancer properties.
  • The leaves are used to control diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • The alkaloids also offer sedative and tranquilizing properties.
  • It relieves muscle pain and depression.
  • Because of its property of detoxification and counteracting poison it is used to relieve wasp stings.
  • Sadabahar controls nosebleeds, bleeding gums, mouth ulcers and sore throats.
  • It is useful in treating gastritis, cystitis, enteritis, diarrhea, diabetes, etc when taken internally.
  • The vinca rosea plant ensures brain health. Its active ingredients improve blood supply to the brain, increase the level of oxygen that the brain can utilize. It also raises serotonin levels and prevents abnormal coagulation of blood.
  • The alkaloid vincamine keeps the blood thin and has memory enhancing properties. It is therefore useful in preventing dementia, especially vascular dementia.

A Couple Of Ayurvedic Remedies

Sadabahar or periwinkle leaves and flowers are very effective in treating diabetes, the treatment for which is as under.

  • Take 1 medium sized bitter gourd (Karela), 1 small cucumber and 1 medium tomato.
  • Wash these well with hot water.
  • Blend all of them in a blender. Add 5 -7 flowers of sadabahar and 4 to 5 leaves of the neem (Indian gooseberry) plant.
  • Blend all these together and drink.

This mixture will not only increase the flow of urine but will also detoxify the body as well as alleviate any kidney problems.
If sadabahar flowers are not available you can add 3-4 leaves of the plant.

The fresh leaves can also be dried, powdered and stored in an airtight bottle. To control diabetes,

  • Consume 1 tsp of this dried leaf powder mixed with fruit juice or water daily. The powder may taste somewhat bitter but rest assured it is normal.

For wasp bites,

  • Apply juice of the leaves at the spot. It neutralizes the poison and prevents swelling and relieves pain.


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

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