Passion Flower

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Passiflora sp. Most often P. incarnata is used medicinally. Family: Passifloraceae

COMMON NAME(S):Passion flower; passion fruit,granadilla (species with edible fruit); water lemon; Maypop, apricot vine, wild passion flower (P. incarnatus);Jamaican honeysuckle (P. laurifolia)

Passion flower is a vine known for its beautiful white flowers with purple, blue, or pink calyx crown blooms. The plant is native to North, Central, and South America.

Passion flower has a mild sedative effect that encourages sleep. This property has been well-substantiated in numerous studies on animals and humans. Nervous symptoms and cramps that inhibit sleep are alleviated by ingestion of the herb, and leading quickly to restful uninterrupted and deep sleep.

Today, more than 400 species of passion flower are found throughout the world. The active constituents of passion flower can be broadly classified as alkaloids and flavonoids, supported in their actions by a variety of other constituents, including amino acids, sugars, coumarins, and alcohols (actually sterols).


The passion flower was discovered in 1569 by Spanish explorers in Peru, who saw the flowers as symbolic of the passion of Christ, and therefore a sign of Christ's approval of their efforts. This is the origin of the scientific and common names.The folklore surrounding this plant possibily dates further into the past. The floral parts are thought to represent the clements of the crucifixion (3 styles represent 3 nails; 5 stamens for the 5 wounds;the ovary looks like a hammer; the corona is the crown of thorns; the petals represent the 10 true apostles; and the white and bluish purple colors are those of purity and heaven).In Europe, passion flower has been used in homeopathic medicine to treat pain, insomnia related to neurasthenia or hysteria, and nervous exhaustion. Other indications included bronchial disorders (particularly asthma), in compresses for burns, and for inflammation, inflamed hemorrhoids, climacteric complaints, pediatric attention disorders, and pediatric nervousness and excitability .

Botany :- The term "passion flower" connotes many of the approximately 400 species of the genus Passiflora, which includes primarily vines. Some of the species are noted for their showy flowers, others for their edible fruit. common species include P. incarnata, P.edulis, P. alata, P. laurifolia, and P. quadrangularis. Those with edible fruit Include P. incarnata, P. edulis, and P.quadrangularis, the last being one of the major species grown for its fruit. Passiflora species are native to tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas. In the US, P. incarnata is found from Virginia to Florida and as far west as Missouri and Texas. The flowers of passiflora have 5 petals, sepals, and stamens, 3 stigmas, and a crown of filaments. The fruit is egg-shaped, has a pulpy consistency, and includes many small seeds.

Uses of Passion Flower

Passion flower has been used to treat sleep disorders and, historically, in homeopathic medicine to treat pain, insomnia related to neurasthenia or hysteria, and nervous exhaustion.

Drug Interactions: Passion flower may interact with anticoagulants (eg, wafarin) and monoamine oxidase inhibitor therapy.

Side Effects of Passion Flower

Although no adverse effects of the passion flower have been reported, large doses may result in central nervous system (CNS) depression.


Adults should take (via infusion) 2 to 5g of dried herb 3 times a day or .5 to 1.0 mL 3times a day as an alcohol based extract. For Tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol): 0.5 to 2.0 mL 3 times a day.

Children - per 50 lbs may take (20 to 25 g).


Little information is available on the clinical toxicity of Passiflora. Cyanogenesis from species P. edulis has been suggested.The plant's known depressant actions may reduce arterial pressure affecting circulation and increasing respiratory rate. There are no controlled human trials on single herb preparations of Passiflora extracts since the mid 1990s.Some cases report vasculitis and altered consciousness in 5 patients taking the herbal product Relaxir, produced mainly from P. incarnata fruits. P. adenopoda fruits may produce some toxic effect.

Use of passion flower is contraindicated during pregnancy because of the uterine stimulant action of its alkaloids harman and harmaline, and the content of the cyanogenic glycoside gynocardin.

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