Periwinkle has a tonic, astringent (contracting), styptic, antihypertensive, vasodilatory (widening of the blood vessels) and diuretic properties.
As an astringent, the herb can be used both internally and externally. The main application of the herb is for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding, either during menstruation (menorrhagia) or bleeding between periods (metrorrhagia).
It can also be used for digestive problems such as gastritis (inflammation or irritation of the stomach lining) and diarrhea by strengthening the mucous membranes resulting in reduced fluid or blood loss.
The closely related species greater periwinkle (Vinca major), a much larger plant, is used in a similar manner in herbal medicine and has the same medicinal properties as lesser periwinkle.