The periwinkle path to mental renovation

Vinpocetine is derived from the vinca alkaloids found in periwinkles (the little blue flowers, not the little snails also called “periwinkles”). Discovered in Hungary in 1976, vinpocetine’s value for treating brain disorders was quickly appreciated in Eastern Europe but was largely ignored elsewhere until fairly recently.

 

Oral vinpocetine has been used with good effect in patients with poor circulation in the brain (“chronic cerebral vascular insufficiency”):

  • to improve cerebral circulation • to improve speech
  • to reduce headache, dizziness, tinnitus, fatigue and insomnia
  • to increase attention and concentration
  • to improve cognition
  • to improve mood

Vinpocetine has also scored successes in the following areas of application:

  • memory and cognitive enhancement
  • poor spatial memory
  • “fetal alcohol spectrum disorders” (FASD)
  • epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
  • liver damage
  • diabetes-related memory loss
  • macular degeneration
  • hearing loss, tinnitus, Ménière’s disease
  • visceral pain
  • recurrent strokes and stroke recovery
  • vertigo
  • nerve damage due to oxidative and nitritive stress
  • tumoral calcinosis (calcium deposits)

The majority of the clinical research into vinpocetine has been done in Hungary and Russia — lands where intellectual achievement has long been highly valued. Despite having been burdened for generations by heavy bureaucracies, these countries have managed to excel in mathematics, physics, engineering, music, chess-playing, and other fields. It’s not surprising that techniques for cognitive enhancement would flourish there. We are fortunate to be able to benefit from their efforts.

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