Other names: Lucerne

Scientific name: Vinca major

Common names:

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names: Zhǎngchūn huā

Bangladesh names: Nayantara

Arabic names:    العناقية (al u’naaqiah)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Apocynaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Aerial parts

Collection:  Spring

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: upto 18 inches

Actions:  Astringent, sedative

Known Constituents:  Alkaloids, tannins

Constituents Explained:


Periwinkle is a prostrate, evergreen, creeping plant; the stem bears opposite, dark green, shiny leaves at the joints.  During March and April a pale blue flower grows from each stem joint on a long, hollow stalk

Traditional Use:

Thought of as an astrigent that helps with excess blood loss particulary if due to menstruation.  Its role as an astrigent also sees it used if there is diaheeraa. Sometimes thought of as being useful to treat diabetes.

Clinical Studies:

Vinflunine is a novel vinca alkaloid obtained by semi-synthesis using super-acidic chemistry to selectively introduce two fluorine atoms at the 20′ position of vinorelbine. In human tumour xenografts, vinflunine showed definite antitumour activity in seven out of 11 tumours tested compared with three out of 11 for vinorelbine.

In this phase I study, vinflunine was administered to 31 patients with advanced malignancies as a 10-min i.v. infusion every 3 weeks according to an escalating schedule of doses between 30 and 400 mg/m(2).

Pharmacokinetic parameters and toxicities were assessed and, at 400 mg/m(2), three out of five patients experienced dose-limiting toxicity. At the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), i.e. 400 mg/m(2), the toxicity profile of vinflunine consisted mainly of mucositis, constipation and neutropenia of short duration.

The MTD of vinflunine was achieved at 400 mg/m(2) every 3 weeks. According to protocol rules, the recommended dose was established at 350 mg/m(2). 

A preliminary assessment of first patients included in early phase II trials led to reduction of the recommended dose to 320 mg/m(2) every 3 weeks for further development of vinflunine. Three partial responses (two in breast carcinoma, one in renal cell carcinoma) suggest that activity is likely to be seen in less heavily pretreated patient populations.


Bennouna J, Fumoleau P, Armand JP, Raymond E, Campone M, Delgado FM, Puozzo C, Marty M. “Phase I And Pharmacokinetics Study Of The New Vinca Alkaloid Vinflunine Administered As A 10-min Infusion Every 3 Weels In Patients With Advanced Solid Tumours.”2003 April