Catharanthus Role in Cancer Treatment, Synonyms and Medicinal Uses

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Biological Name : Catharanthus roseus

Family : Apocyanaceae

Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar Periwinkle), N...

Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar Periwinkle), Nayantara in Bengali, is common flower in India. Photographed at Kolkata. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Synonyms of Catharanthus:

  • Hindi – Sadabahar
  • Oriya – Ainskati
  • Bengali – Nayantara
  • Malayalam – Ushamalari
  • Marathi – Sada-phul
  • Tamil – Sudukadu mallikal
  • Telugu – Billaganneru

Catharanthus is an erect herb with a height of one metre. Flowers are white or purple-red in colour. It is grown throughout the India and is mainly cultivated in gardens. The useful parts of the plant are roots and leaves.

Properties of Catharanthus:

  • Stomachic
  • Hypoglycemic
  • Sedative
  • Anti-cancerous

Phytochemicals in Catharanthus:

The phytochemicals which are present in the catharanthus are alkaloids like vincristine and vinblstine.

Forms of use: It is used in the form of decoction from root and leaves and as powder.

Medicinal uses:

In Cancer

  • The violet flowers of the plant contains alkaloids, vincristine and vinblastine which are powerful anti-cancerous agents.
  • Vincristine and vinblastine are powerful cytotoxic agents and they arrest the rapidly dividing cells in cancer.
  • These are useful in the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s syndrome, lymphomas, leukaemia, breast cancer and other related problems.

Other Medicinal Uses of Catharanthus:

  • The drug is used as a hypoglycemic agent in diabetes.
  • Catharanthus acts as a sedative.
  • Catharanthus is used for treating stomachache.
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