Sadabahar is commonly known as Periwinkle and is easily found in India. It is a native plant of Madagascar and hence acquired the common name ‘Madagascar Periwinkle.’ It belongs to the family Apocynaceae and is botanically termed as Catharanthus roseus.
It is mostly used as an ornamental plant but not many of us are aware of the health benefits of the leaves of this plant. Sadabahar leaves may not only look attractive but have many hidden health and medicinal benefits and currently are the main focus of study in Ayurveda.
Sadabahar Plant: Interesting Facts
Sadabahar plant is approximately 1-2.5 meters in height and can be easily cultivated. Sadabahar flowers come in two varieties:
- Milky white in color
- Dark-pinkish purple in color
Sadabahar or Madagascar Periwinkle is also known to be one of the greatest gifts of Africa to the world. Several researchers including Robert Nobel and Charles Beer at the University of Western Ontario, Canada discovered that the extracts of this plant have the ability to kill white blood cells in our body.
Subsequently, their research gave rise to the novel anti-cancer properties found in the extracts. Another researcher named Gordon H. Svoboda worked on the Madagascar Periwinkle and found anti-diabetic properties in the extracts.
Chemical Composition of Sadabahar
The Pink Flower of Catharanthus (Sadabahar) constitutes mainly of –
- Linolenic acid ethyl ester (43.9 %)
- Hexadecanoic acid (6.8 %)
- Stearic acid (10.6 %)
- Phytol (7.3 %)
- phytol (29.6 %)
- Linolenic acid
- Ethyl ester (14.0 %)
- Limonene (34.1 %)
The White Flower of Cathanranhus consitutes mainly of –
- Geraniol (7.3 %)
- Citral (7.0 %)
- Limonene (23.2 %),
- Dodecyl alcohol (9.8 from the leaf, with limonene (37.2 %)
- Dotriacontane (16.1%)
It also consists of alkaloids such as Vinblastine and Vincristine and chemical constituents such as lochnerin, serpentine, ajmalicine, reserpine, catharanthine.
Health Benefits of Sadabahar Leaves
Sadabahar leaves have many health benefits and are used in Ayurveda. They are easily available and can cure many disorders or at least have the potential to do so.
Below I’ll be explaining a few astounding health benefits of Sadabahar leaves:
1) Controls Blood Pressure and Hypertension
We are all exposed to the rat race where stress and managing stress has clearly become a tedious task for many. Stress is the precursor to many underlying issues such as hypertension which gradually advances to diabetes and cardiac disorders.
You can lower blood pressure with Sadabahar leaves as it acts as an anti-hypertensive agent which helps in maintaining blood pressure levels. It normalizes high blood pressure levels and augments the cardiovascular functioning of our body. The extracts of Sadabahar leaves and flowers are used as a cardiotonic and can cure mild to moderate hypertensive conditions.
2) Improved Brain Function
The extract of Sadabahar leaves and flowers not only acts as a cardiotonic but also is a brain tonic. The extract brings about calmness, alertness, focus, attention, and increases mental productivity. It amplifies brain metabolism and improves thinking ability. The extract also wards off early aging of the neurons (brain cells). It brings about increased blood circulation which helps ease the tension in the brain.
3) Anti-Cancer Properties
The anticancer alkaloids Vinblastine and Vincristine extracted from the leaf of sadabahar are used in cancer treatment and show inhibitory effects on the growth of cancer cells. The alkaloids are administered to cure various human tumors. The alkaloid Vinblastine has increased the survival rate of Leukemia in children from 10% to 95% while the alkaloid Vincristine is used in the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease, a type of blood cancer.
This is the story of little Angela who survived childhood Leukemia which was a fatal form of cancer until recent times. Angela was prescribed a special drug derived from periwinkle which included the alkaloid vinblastine. Without this drug, Angela wouldn’t have survived this dreadful disease and she and her family will always be thankful to the doctors. Angela’s beautiful curly hair locks fell out and she remained weak, fragile but was determined to go to school. Her courage inspired not only her classmates but also the teachers in the school and as a tribute to this little girl’s spirit, her classmates went bald to support her and fight this disease together.
4) Anti-Diabetic Properties
The aqueous solution of Sadabahar leaves is helpful in lowering blood glucose levels in the body. The extract shows hypoglycaemic properties that stimulate the production of insulin in the beta cells of the pancreas. The beta cells are responsible for the production of insulin, and the hormone insulin is required for the regulation of blood glucose levels in the body.
Sadabahar leaves can be used in the following ways to lower diabetes in the body:
- Fresh, dry Sadabahar leaves should be taken and made into powder. This powder must be stored in a glass container. Every morning after getting up, take one 1 tsp of this powder and mix it with water or fresh fruit juice. This must be consumed on an empty stomach.
- Take 2-3 Sadabahar leaves and chew them to prevent a spike in glucose levels in the body.
5) Respiratory Distress
Sadabahar is known to relax respiratory disorders like Asthma, cold, cough, bronchitis, etc. It helps in the removal of mucous deposits from the respiratory tract clearing the tract for easy breathing. It provides relief from a sore throat, chest congestion, and cold.
6) Skin benefits
Apart from curing a lot of other disorders, Sadabahar has proven to enhance skin health and protects the skin from UV damage. It also helps in curing various other skin problems like aging, pigmentation, dark circles, pimples, acne, etc.
You can use Sadabahar leaves as a face mask by mixing it with neem leaf powder, turmeric powder, and rose water. Apply it on the face and keep it for a few minutes. Rinse using cold water to see the difference.
Sadabahar has been established to be one of the most beneficial plants which help in curing innumerable disorders. Its anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-aging properties have gained a lot of popularity in Ayurveda and medicine.
Q1) What are the side-effects of Sadabahar leaves?
Ans) Sadabahar leaves must be consumed in a limited amount as excessive consumption can result in constipation, extremely low blood sugar levels, etc. Don’t take more than 3-4 leaves in a day.
Q2) How do we grow and take care of the Sadabahar plant at home?
Ans) Sadabahar plants can be easily grown at home in well-drained soils. The ideal temperature for the growth of the Sadabahar plant is about 65° F and above. The plants start rooting in about 3-4 weeks.
Q3) What are the additional benefits of Sadabahar?
Ans) The active constituents in Sadabahar also help in curing chest pains, toothache, vaginal discharge, tonsillitis, etc.