Gardening

Catharanthus roseus, a plant recognized for its medicinal uses

Catharanthus roseus also known as Teresita , Vinca rosa, Carantus, Dominicana or Pervinca rosa. It belongs to the Apocynaceae family, which is native to the Island of Madagascar, but today it is common in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world.

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Catharanthus roseus characteristics

Evergreen shrub or herbaceous plant , which can reach a height of 1 m. The leaves are oval to oblong, 2.5 to 9 cm long and 1 to 3.5 cm wide, hairless, bright green, in opposite pairs with a pale midrib and a short petiole 1 to 1.8 cm in length. The flowers are white to dark pink with a darker red center, with a basic tube 2.5 to 3 cm long and a corolla 2 to 5 cm in diameter with 5 petals as lobes. The fruit is a pair of follicles 2 to 4 cm long and 3 mm wide.

Catharanthus roseus care

Ornamental and medicinal plant that requires being located in the sun or partial shade. It is very weak against cold and frost.

The ideal temperature to grow it is between 10 and 32˚C. In addition, it is resistant to any type of soil, as long as it is well drained and remains moist all year round.

The waterings have to be copious in the summer, without saturating the compost . In winter you just have to keep the substrate somewhat damp.

During its flowering period it is necessary to pay with a fertilizer for plants every 10 days.

It can be multiplied by seeds, division or cuttings.

In general, it does not require further care. However, in rainy seasons it is usually prone to acquiring viral diseases that can cause yellowing and deformation of the stems and leaves.

Applications 

Catharanthus roseus has many uses in traditional medicine . The decoction of its petals is used for eye diseases (conjunctivitis, fleshiness, clouds), as well as to strengthen eyesight. The decoction of the leaves and fresh flowers are used against diabetes in many countries of the world and in Ayurvedic medicine.

But what is recommended to use this plant with great caution under the supervision of a specialist, since it has substances that can be toxic to both malignant cells and healthy cells of the body.

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