Chang Chun Hua -- Catharanthus roseus

Professional Data
 Pin Yin
Chang Chun Hua
Herba Catharanthi rosei
 Introduction Back to Top
Herba Catharanthis rosei is the whole plant of Catharanthus roseus (Fam. Apocynaceae).

 Western medical Back to Top
The herb was used to treat cancer, hypertension, nephritic syndrome, thrombopenic purpura and bullous skin diseases, etc..

 Eastern medical Back to Top
  • Pattern: Anti-cancer, lowers Blood pressure.
  • Properties: Slightly bitter, cool, toxic.
  • Channels entered: Liver and Kidney.
 Chemical constituents Back to Top
More than 70 kinds of alkaloids has been isolated from the root, stem, leaf and seed of chang chun hua. The anti-cancer ingredients include Vinblastine (VLB), Vincristine (VCR), Leurosine (VLR), Vincadioline and Leurosidine and Catharanthine, etc..

 Pharmacological actions Back to Top
Anti-cancer effect

The herb contains more than 70 alkaloids, including vinblastine, vincristine, vinrosidine. The Vinca alkaloids are very effective against leukemia. Clinical trials have shown high remission rates in patients with acute lymphatic and chronic granulocytic leukemia.

Blood pressure lowering effect

Intravenous injection of alkaloids of chang chun hua to anaesthetized cats, dogs or rabbits could significantly lower the blood pressure.

Blood sugar lowering effect

Some alkaloids contained in chang chun hua such as leurosine, lochnerine, tetrahydroalstonine, vindoline and vindolinine had different blood sugar effect which was slow but persistent.

 Clinical Studies Back to Top
Malignant tumors

VLB and VCR had similar chemical structure, but didn't have completely same indications of tumors. VLB was mainly used to treat Hodgkin's disease, lymphosarcoma, acute leukemia and chorionepithelioma; and it's also effective on breast cancer, oophoroma and nephroblastoma, etc.. VLB Injection was 10mg per ampoule. Commonly used dosage in clinic is 0.2mg/kg for intravenous injection, once a week, 60~80mg as a course of treatment. VCR's effect on Hodgkin's disease was not as good as VLB, but it had better effect on acute lymphatic and granulocytic leukemia as well as malignant lymphoma, especially on children's acute leukemia.


Vinpocetine, 5mg for intravenous injection, tid, 4 weeks as a course of treatment. 30 cases of hypertension with cerebral arteriosclersis and cerebral thrombosis were treated with this method, 93% cases had improved symptoms, and the markedly effective rate was 25%. The blood viscosity lowered significantly.

Nephrotic syndrome

VCR, 1.4mg/m2 diluted with 20ml physiological saline solution was used for slow intravenous injection, once a week, 10 times as a course of treatment. Deltacortisone 1.5~2.0mg/, taken in 2~3 times orally was also applied. 27 cases out of 30 treated cases of nephritic syndrome were completely relieved.

Thrombopenic purpura

VCR combined with Deltacortisone was used to treat 11 cases of primary thrombopenic purpura. Method: First day on the First week, VCR 1mg mixed with 500 ml physiological saline solution for 8 hours intravenous drip, once a week, for 4 consecutive weeks; Deltacortisone 40mg, orally, for consecutive 4 weeks. Results: 7 cases were markedly effective and 4 effective.

Bullous skin diseases

VCR 1mg diluted in 10ml physiological saline solution for intravenous injection, once a week, 4~6 times as a course of treatment. Oral administration of deltacortisone at the dosage of 30~88mg daily was accompanied. 6 cases of bullous skin diseases were treated with this method, and the effect was fast with short course of treatment and minor toxic effects.

 References Back to Top

Except those noted, all references come from Wang Benxiang, et al., Modern Pharmocology of Chinese materia medica, Tianjin Science & Technology Press, 1999