Most of us know Passiflora Incranata by its common name – Passionflower. Mere mention of this lavender flower with green-trilobed leaves fetches feelings of mystery and fascination. Passiflora is recognized by other names such as maypop, wild apricot and wild passion vine. Because of the way the name sounds and because of the word ‘passion’ in its name, it is often assumed that the flower is an aphrodisiac and grows in exotic locations. Both of these assumptions are true. Let’s explore more.
Beautiful flowers of passifloraare believed to have originated from the tropical rainforests of South America. In fact, South America is the home to 95% of all Passiflora of the world. Remaining are found in North America, and also in Asia and Australia.
The plant of the flower is a fast growing perennial vine with climbing or trailing stems. However, plant, shrub, annuals and even tree varieties are all known of. The fruit of the plant is a smooth yellow berry called grandilla.
Tropical climate is always a favorite of passiflora prefer. One can easily find people potting them in their balconies and terraces in summer to give their spaces more tropical flair.
History at a Glance
World discovered Passiflora Extract after the Spanish conquest of America. The first mention of this flower was found in a report from the famous Spanish conquistador, Cieza de Leon in 1553. Initially parts of the flower were thought to represent the passion (suffering and death) or crucifixion of Christ. This lead to the name ‘passion’ flower and because of this people started appreciating and admiring the flower.
Chemical Make Up
Passiflora contains tri-substituted benzoflavone, flavonoids, chlorogenic acid, sterols, volatile oils, and traces of alkaloids.
Because of the unique, lavish and rich looks, Passiflora are used the most for ornamental purposes. However, all the parts (leaves, stem, and flowers) of the plant are also used for their medicinal qualities, some of which are:
– Passionflowers have potent flavonoid and alkaloid content. Pertaining to this, traditionally, the plant has been used for treating stress and anxiety.
– Passionflowers are neither narcotic nor are they addictive. Therefore, they are also a favorite remedy for the condition of insomnia. Research have suggested that drinking passiflora tea an hour before bedtime might help in relaxation and improving feelings of sleep quality.
– Passiflora can also help with generalized anxiety disorder or GAD, in fact sometimes, as effectively as the prescription medications.
– One can use passiflora in combination with clonidine medicine to relieve symptoms related to narcotic drug withdrawal.
– Passiflora has hypotensive effect and therefore can assist in lowering blood pressure and control of tachycardia (fast heart rate).
– They also exhibit the ability to suppress cough.
– It is a traditional medicine to ease menstrual complications, both physical and mental. It also helps relieving some symptoms related to menopause.
– Passiflora can be applied on the skin (externally) to sooth hemorrhoids, burns, swelling or skin inflammation.
– Other probable medicinal uses of passifloraare towards Gastrointestinal GI upset (related to anxiety or nervousness), asthma, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), palpitations, and fibromyalgia.
– Passiflora also exhibit aphrodisiac properties including libido-enhancing and virility-enhancing properties.
If taken as tea, the 2-5 grams of herb can be taken for two to three times a day. If taken as an extract or tincture, it is best to follow the directions given on the bottle. The herb also comes in the form of capsules (from 200mg) which can be taken as needed for not more than once a day.
Passiflora, taken in prescribed dosages is generally considered safe. However, side effects such as rapid heart rhythm, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and dizziness have been reported.Apart from this, it is advised to not give passiflora to children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.