Common name: Kemunting cina, Kembang Tapak Dara, Kembang Tembaga, Bunga Serdadu,Cangchun Hua(chi), Madagascar Periwinkle, Old Maid, Cayenne Jasmine, Rose Periwinkle, West Indian Periwinkle, Periwrinkle, Tahi Ayam
(Chinese): 日日春, 长春花
Scientific name: Catharanthus Roseus (L.) Don.
Synonym: Lochnera rosea, Vinca rosea, Ammocallis rosea
Uses and cultivation
The species are self-propagating from seed; the seeds require a period of total darkness to germinate. Cuttings from mature plants will also root readily.
One species, C. roseus, has been widely cultivated and introduced, becoming an invasive species in some areas.
C. roseus has gained interest from the pharmaceutical industry; the alkaloids vincristine and vinblastine from its sap have been shown to be an effective treatment for leukaemia and lymphoma. Although the sap is poisonous if ingested, some 70 useful alkaloids have been identified from it. In Madagascar, extracts have been used for hundreds of years in herbal medicine for the treatment of diabetes, as hemostatics and tranquilizers, to lower blood pressure, and as disinfectants. The extracts are not without their side effects, however, which include hair loss.
* It is said the white variety is the most effective.