Extractum vincae – Extract of Lesser/Dwarf Periwinkle

Vinca minor also known as Small periwinkle or Common periwinkle grows in deciduous forests of central, southern Europe and south-west Asia, often cultivated in gardens or planted on cemeteries. Vinca minor was also dragged to USA and now is showing invasive properties, hence its relative easy accessibility for herbalists from at least 3 continents. This forgotten herb was used in the past against diarrhea, catarrhs of alimentary canal, nose bleedings, skin rash or lung phlegm. Today we know more about its chemical features what allows us for more modern, focused usage. On the market galene formulas are usually not accessible, only extracts of certain substances are used by academic medicine, however whole plant is worth closer look.

Usage: Wincamine alkaloid improves brain blood circulation, lowers glucose level in blood. Because of that the herb can be used by older people with brain and eyes circulation disorder, problems with memory and aural noises. Other alkaloids like vincristin and vinblastin have cytotoxic qualities (even higher density of those could be found in Vinca rosea) and today are used in high dosages during aggressive chemotherapy against lymphocytoma, lymphocytoblastoma and other cancer types. Because of those and other alkaloids the plant could be poisonous in higher dosages. Extract of the whole plant, beside already mentioned features, increase also and activate immunological response.Treatment should last at most 2-3 weeks and then make a 2 week pause.

Harvest: Possible most of the year although recommended during blossoming (May).

Preparation: Tincture or extract is best made on 60-65% proof alcohol. Keep in cool, dark place (if not in dark glass,  clothe it) and shake it at least daily for 14-21 days. After that period filter out organic parts and if needed, dilute to proper proportion with alcohol, creating a tincture. Dried herb could be also used directly.

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