Since early times, herbalists have known of this medicinal herb's ability to stop the flow of blood (haemostatic action) and modern pharmacologists have not only substantiated this claim, but have also found that lesser periwinkle lowers blood pressure.
Old herbals recommended using the dried herb as a remedy to treat headaches, poor memory, and vertigo. In 1953, the alkaloid vincamine was identified as the most important constituent contained in lesser periwinkle. Since then, scientific literature about the herb has grown enormously and includes evidence that vincamine has specific effects on cerebral blood flow. Double blind trials showed that memory disorders and concentration responded well to products containing vincamine.
Today, medical or professional herbalists prescribe lesser periwinkle for the treatment of vascular disease as well as associated subjective symptoms such as headaches, memory problems, speech problems, and dizziness. The herb has a place in the treatment of health problems associated with old age such as difficulty with concentration, memory deterioration, and emotional disorders.
Lesser periwinkle has also been found to be useful in the treatment of tinnitus and hearing loss associated with ischaemia, dizziness occurring with Meniere's syndrome, disorders of blood flow in the retina, high blood pressure, and for heavy menstruation and leucorrhoea.
The herb has also been found to improve neurological status after stroke with significant effects on cranial nerves and the arms and legs.
Note: Improvement in most conditions won't be noted until three to six weeks after starting on the herb.
Caution: Vinca minor should not be taken by those with brain tumours and diseases involving an increase in intracranial pressure.
Reference: Weiss, R F: Herbal Medicine, Beaconsfield, England (1988)