Vinca minor

Botanical Name: Vinca minor
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Vinca
Species: V. minor
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms: Pervinca heterophyla. Pervinca minor. Pervinca procumbens. Vinca acutiflora . Vinca ellipticifolia.

Common Names: Lesser Periwinkle, Flower of Death, English Holly, Creeping Myrtle, Creeping Vinca, Common Periwink, Lesser periwinkle or Dwarf periwinkle

Other vernacular names: Small periwinkle, and Sometimes in the United States, Myrtle or Creeping myrtle

Habitat :Vinca minor is native to central and southern Europe, from Portugal and France north to the Netherlands and the Baltic States, east to the Caucasus, and also southwestern Asia in Turkey. It grows in fields, woodland edges, copses and hedgerows. Ash and oak-hornbeam woods on better soils in central Europe
Description:
Vinca minor is a trailing, viny subshrub, spreading along the ground and rooting along the stems to form large clonal colonies and occasionally scrambling up to 40 centimetres (16 in) high but never twining or climbing. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, 2–4.5 centimetres (0.79–1.77 in) long and 1–2.5 centimetres (0.39–0.98 in) broad, glossy dark green with a leathery texture and an entire margin….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are solitary in the leaf axils and are produced mainly from early spring to mid summer but with a few flowers still produced into the autumn; they are violet-purple (pale purple or white in some cultivated selections), 2–3 centimetres (0.79–1.18 in) diameter, with a five-lobed corolla. The flowers of the garden periwinkle are the inspiration of the lavender blue color name periwinkle, and this viny shrub is a popular and attractive ground cover with numerous cultivars,flower colours and variegated foliage.

The closely related species Vinca major is similar, but larger in all parts, and also has relatively broader leaves with a hairy margin.
The color name periwinkle is derived from the flower.

Cultivation:
Vinca minor  is  a very easily grown plant, it succeeds in almost any soil but prefers those that are on the richer side. It grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are very shade tolerant but they do not flower so well in deep shade. It grows well under deciduous trees, and in such a position it can succeed in dry soils. Established plants are drought tolerant. A very ornamental and polymorphic plant, there are some named forms selected for their ornamental value. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. This species rarely if ever sets seed in Britain. It spreads rapidly by long trailing and rooting stems once it is established and will swamp out smaller plants. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if possible. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring just before active growth commences, or in autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, 5 – 10 cm long, October in a cold frame. Roots quickly. High percentage

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Chemical constituents:
Vinca minor contains more than 50 alkaloids, and vincamine is the molecule responsible for Vinca’s nootropic activity. Other alkaloids include reserpine, reserpinine, akuammicine, majdine, vinerine, ervine, vineridine, tombozine, vincamajine, vincanine, vincanidine, vincamone, apovincamine, vincaminol, desoxyvincaminol, vincorine and perivincine.

Vinpocetine (brand names: Cavinton, Intelectol; chemical name: ethyl apovincaminate) is a semisynthetic derivative alkaloid of vincamine.

Medicinal Uses:
Antispasmodic; Astringent; Bitter; Detergent; Homeopathy; Hypotensive; Sedative; Stomachic; Tonic.

The plant is sedative and tonic. It contains the alkaloid ‘vincamine’, which is used by the pharmaceutical industry as a cerebral stimulant and vasodilator. Since the discovery of vincamine in the leaves, the plant has been used herbally to treat arteriosclerosis and for dementia due to insufficient blood supply to the brain. The leaves are bitter, detergent and stomachic. Taken internally, they are used in the treatment of internal bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding and nosebleeds. When crushed and applied to wounds they have astringent and healing properties. A mouthwash is used to treat gingivitis, sore throats and mouth ulcers. The leaves are gathered in the spring and dried for later use. The root is antispasmodic and hypotensive. It is used to lower the blood pressure. The root is gathered in the autumn and dried for later use. The fresh flowers are gently purgative, but lose their effect on drying. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh leaves. It is used in the treatment of haemorrhages.

This plant is an excellent all round astringent which can be used internally or externally.  Its most common internal use is for treating excess menstrual flow.  It is useful as a douche for treating vaginal infection.  It is used for digestive problems such as inflammation of the colon or diarrhea.  The astringent action is also used in cases of nose bleed, bleeding gums, mouth ulcers and as a gargle for sore throats. Chewing the plant relieves toothache.  The tea is sedative and is beneficial for hysteria, fits, and nervous states.  Use two teaspoons per cup, steep for 20 minutes, and take a quarter-cup doses four times a day.  Make a poultice of the herb to relieve cramps in the limbs. The leaves are used in slaves for hemorrhoids and inflammations.  Use the tea as a gargle for sore throat and tonsillitis.  The fresh flowers are made into a syrup laxative, which is excellent for small children as well as adults.  To make a syrup, boil three pounds of Sucanat in one pint of water until you get a syrup consistency, and then steep the herbs in the hot liquid for 20 minutes, or simmer the herbs in honey or maple syrup for about 10 minutes, strain, and store in the refrigerator.  It combines well with Agrimony for astringent action to treat the digestive system and skin conditions.

Other Uses:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Erosion control, Ground cover, Massing, Specimen.  The stems are used in basket making. A very good ground cover for covering steep banks and shady places, spreading rapidly once established and forming a dense cover within 2 years. It is less dense on dry or exposed sites. Plants are best spaced about 60cm apart each way.

Social beliefs: Venus owns this herb, and saith, That the leaves eaten by man and wife together, cause love between them. The Periwinkle is a great binder, stays bleeding both at mouth and nose, if some of the leaves be chewed. The French used it to stay women’s courses. Dioscorides, Galen, and Agineta, commend it against the lasks and fluxes of the belly to be drank in wine.
Known Hazards: Large quantities of the plant are poisonous

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinca_minor
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail492.php
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vinca+minor

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

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