A Facebook page with over 237,000 followers has claimed that a flowering plant can be used to treat “excessive menstrual bleeding” and other ailments.
The attached image shows a plant with green leaves and small pink flowers with five petals. The post says “the leaf can be soaked in water and given to a patient with severe bleeding”.
Is this advice accurate? We checked.
Plant is poisonous, potentially lethal
“Periwinkle plants can be used to make vinca alkaloids, which are used as chemotherapeutic agents to treat certain cancers,” said Rogers. However, she said “there is no evidence that they cure abnormal vaginal bleeding”.
Consuming the plant as advised can be dangerous.
“It can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, as well as nerve, kidney and liver damage,” said Rogers. “Advice to use the periwinkle plant for this purpose could cause poisoning or death of the person who ingests it.”
What causes ‘excessive menstrual bleeding’?
The medical name for heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding is menorrhagia.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a US non-profit medical centre, symptoms include needing to change a pad or tampon once or more in an hour, bleeding that lasts more than a week, passing large blood clots and symptoms of anaemia.
Symptoms can be so severe that they stop a woman from taking part in normal daily activities.
Speak to your doctor for advice
It’s best to speak with a doctor if you are concerned about heavy menstruation. Then the cause of the issue can be identified and treated.
“There are plenty of evidence-based medical and surgical treatments for heavy bleeding,” advised Rogers.
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.