Catharanthus (Madagascar Periwinkle) is a genus of eight species of herbaceous perennial plants, seven endemic to the island of Madagascar, the eighth native to the Indian subcontinent in southern Asia . C. roseus goes by its common name "sadabahar" or "sadaphuli" (perennially flowering) in parts of Western India.
- Catharanthus coriaceus Markgr. Madagascar.
- Catharanthus lanceus (Bojer ex A.DC.) Pichon. Madagascar.
- Catharanthus longifolius (Pichon) Pichon. Madagascar.
- Catharanthus ovalis Markgr. Madagascar.
- Catharanthus pusillus (Murray) G.Don. Indian subcontinent.
- Catharanthus roseus (L.) G.Don. Madagascar (formerly known as Vinca rosea).
- Catharanthus scitulus (Pichon) Pichon. Madagascar.
- Catharanthus trichophyllus (Baker) Pichon. Madagascar.
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.
Pharmacological uses 
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. The extracts are not without their side effects, however, which include hair loss.
Vinca alkaloids 
Vinca alkaloids are anti-mitotic and anti-microtubule agents. They are now produced synthetically and used as drugs in cancer therapy and as immunosuppressive drugs. These compounds are vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine and vinorelbine. Periwinkle extracts and derivatives, such as vinpocetine, are also used as nootropic drugs.
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- Flora of Madagascar: Catharanthus
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Catharanthus
- Takimoto CH, Calvo E. "Principles of Oncologic Pharmacotherapy" in Pazdur R, Wagman LD, Camphausen KA, Hoskins WJ (Eds) Cancer Management: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 11 ed. 2008.
- DrugDigest: Catharanthus roseus[dead link]
- Madagascan Periwinkle
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