Catharanthus roseus (Apocynaceae)
Catharanthus roseus is native to the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. This herb is now common in many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, including the southern United States.
Catharanthus roseus is a fleshy perennial growing to 32 in (80 cm) high. It has glossy, dark green, oval leaves (1-2 inches long) and flowers all summer long. The blooms of the natural wild plants are a pale pink with a purple "eye" in their centers.
Long before modern researcher learned of the plant's valuable and varied properties, people in faraway places were using the Madagascar periwinkle for a host of medicinal purposes. In India, they treated wasp sting with the juice from the leaves.In Hawai'i they prescribed an extract of the boiled plant to arrest bleeding. In Central America and parts of South America, they made a gargle to ease soar throats and chest ailments and laryngitis. In Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and other islands, an extract of the flower was commonly administered as an eyewash for the eyes of infants. In Africa, leaves are used for menorrhagia and rheumatism. Surinamese boil ten leves and ten flowers together for diabetes. Bahamians take flower decoction for asthma and flatulence, and the entire plant for tuberculosis. In Mauritius, the leaves infusion s given for dyspepsia and indigestion. In Vietnamit, is taken for diabetes and malaria. Curacao and Bermuda natives take the plant for high blood pressure. Indochinese use the stalks and leaves for dysmenorrhea.