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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Plant of the week with Alexander McCowan ]

Plant of the week with Alexander McCowan

Fight off wicked spirits

Name: Lesser Periwinkle (w)
Otherwise known as: Joy of the Ground, Pucellage
Habitat: A perennial evergreen sub-shrub of the Apocynaceae family, growing up to 30cm in quite indifferent soil and found anywhere in Europe. It grows from an extensive root system, throwing up numerous flimsy stems that support glossy, opposite, oval leaves with purple/blue tubular flowers. All parts of the plant are poisonous.

What does it do: The generic name Vinca comes from the Latin word Vincio, meaning I bind, after the trailing nature of the stems that were used for tying and binding nets and traps. Medieval herbalists recommended ‘perwynke’ for a defence against ‘wykked spirytis’. Albertus Magnus, the celebrated alchemist, writing in his Boke of Secretes gives a recipe for an aphrodisiac made from periwinkle.

Culpeper states: ‘…it will stay bleeding of the mouth and nose if it be chewed, and may be used to advantage in women’s hysterics and other weaknesses’. Whatever they might be.

The plant contains the alkaloid vincamine, tannins, saponins and pectin; this makes it astringent, hypotensive, vasodilating, tonic and diuretic. Although the plant is recognised as being highly toxic, modern herbalists suggest it be employed against dizziness, tinnitus, loss of memory, high blood pressure, Meniere’s syndrome, nasal bleeding, diarrhoea, stomatitis and behaviour disorders in children.

The presence of vincamine renders the plant dangerous to anyone suffering from any internal tumours, particularly those involving the nervous system. Interestingly, Madagascan Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) contains the alkaloids vincristine and vinblastine, which have proved so successful in the treatment of infantile leukaemia and diabetes.

Periwinkle makes excellent ground cover either in shade or full sun and will sit well in the orchard or beneath the hedge.

Next dangerous plant waterlily



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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