Medicinal Herbs used in Wildcrafted Herbal Products' Therapeutic Creams and Compounds

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Medicinal Herb: Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)

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The plant is native to North, Central, and South America. While primarily tropical, some of its 400 species can grow in colder climates. The name passion flower dates back to the seventeenth century. The mystery of the beautiful blossom out of the unassuming bud was compared to the Passion of Christ. The leaves, stems, and flowers are used for medicinal purposes.

The Passion Flowers are so named from the supposed resemblance of the finely-cut corona in the centre of the blossoms to the Crown of Thorns and of the other parts of the flower to the instruments of the Passion of Our Lord. Passiflora incarnata has a perennial root, and the herbaceous shoots bear three-lobed, finelyserrated leaves and flesh-coloured or yellowish, sweet-scented flowers, tinged with purple. The ripe, orange-coloured, ovoid, many-seeded berry is about the size of a small apple; when dried, it is shrivelled and greenish-yellow. The yellow pulp is sweet and edible.


Passion Flower

Biological Name:
Passiflora incarnata


Other Names:
Passion Flower, Maypop

Parts Used:
Leaves and whole plant

Active Compounds:

Alkaloids; harmine, harman, harmol, harmaline, harmalol, and passaflorine.

Flavonoids; apigenin and various glycosides, homoorientin, isovitexin, kaempferol, luteolin, orientin, quercitin, rutin, saponaretin, saponarin and vitexen.

The flavonoids in passion flower are the primary constituents responsible for its relaxing and anti-anxiety effects. European pharmacopoeias typically recommend passion flower products containing no less than 0.8% total flavonoids. The European literature involving passion flower recommends it primarily for anti-anxiety treatment; in this context, it is often combined with valerian, lemon balm, and other herbs with sedative properties.

Medical use of the herb did not begin until the late nineteenth century in the United States. Passion flower was used to treat nervous restlessness and gastrointestinal spasms. The effects of passion flower were believed to be primarily on the nervous system. Its effects were particularly touted for those with anxiety due to mental worry and overwork.

Traditional Applications in Herbal Medicine:
Nervine, hypnotic, anti-spasmodic, anodyne, hypotensive.

Passiflora has a depressant effect on Central Nervous System activity and is hypotensive; they are used for their sedative and soothing properties, to lower blood pressure, prevent tachycardia and for insomnia. The alkaloids and flavonoids have both been reported to have sedative activity in animals. Many of the flavonoids, such as apigenin, are well-known for pharmacological activity, particularly anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory activities.

It is the herb of choice for treating intransigent insomnia. It aids the transition into a restful sleep without any 'narcotic' hangover. It may be used wherever an anti-spasmodic is required, e.g. in Parkinson's disease, seizures and hysteria. It can be very effective in nerve pain such as neuralgia and the viral infection of nerves called shingles. It may be used in asthma where there is much spasmodic activity, especially when there is associated tension.

Combinations : For insomnia, it will combine well with Valerian, Hops and Jamaican Dogwood.

Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb and let infuse for 15 minutes. Drink a cup in the evening for sleeplessness, and a cup twice a day for the easing of other conditions.

Tincture: take 1-4 ml of the tincture and use the same way as the infusion. The recommended intake of the dried herb is 4-8 grams three times per day. Many European products combine passion flower with other sedative herbs to treat mild to moderate anxiety.

Used in the amounts listed above, passion flower is generally safe and has not been found to negatively interact with other sedative drugs. However, some experts suggest not using passion flower with MAO-inhibiting antidepressant drugs. Passion flower has not been proven to be safe during pregnancy and lactation.

No other information available. Some herbs are known to react with your medication. Please consult your physician before starting on any herb.

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