By Joydeep, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Plant Family: Apocynaceae

Botanical Name: Catharanthus roseus

Alternative Name: Madagascar periwinkle, Rosy periwinkle, Old maid, and Cape periwinkle

Medical uses: 

  • Diabetes.
  • Cancer.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Cough.
  • Lung congestion.
  • Sore throat.
  • Eye irritation, when applied to the eye.
  • Skin infections, when applied to the skin.
  • Stopping bleeding, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.


Madagascar Periwinkle: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Folklore: Has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diabetes, malaria, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. American and Canadian researchers during World War II became aware that soldiers stationed in the Philippines were using it instead of insulin during shortages.

Other facts: Considered an endangered plant in the wild in its native Madagascar, mostly due to slash and burn agriculture. Also used frequently in the study of plant pathology, as it can be infected easily with phytoplasmas.