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Passion Flower as an Herb

Passion Flower as an herb

Passiflora incarnata

This beautiful plant is also a much appreciated healing secret. For many herbalists, it's the preferred choice for anxiety.

Other Names: Granadilla, Maypop, Passion Vine

Passion flower is the dried aboveground parts (herb) of a member of the largely tropical American passion flower family.

The Passion flower, cultivated and sometimes grown as a house plant, was named by early missionaries in the early 1500s. They believed that several parts of the plant, including the petals, rays, and sepals, symbolized features of the crucifixion of Christ.

Passion flower was largely neglected until the mid-nineteenth century. It was introduced into medicine about 1840 by. L. Phares of Mississippi and by 1898 was in use by American physicians.

Passion Flower as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

The medicinal parts are the whole or cut dried herb and the fresh aerial parts. The yellow pulp from the berry is edible. Several other related species also have edible fruits or healing properties.

Passion Flower is approved by Commission E for treating nervousness and insomnia. When nerves are on edge, passion flower is a welcome remedy for many people.

Passion flower proves specially useful in the insomnia of infants and old people. It gives sleep to those who are laboring under the effects of mental worry or from mental overwork.

Formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid, it was not recognized as effective by the US Food and Drug Administration in a 1978 review of nighttime sleep aids.

In European herbal medicine, passion flower products are used for nervous tension, especially in sleep disturbances or anxiety arising from restlessness. Recent research on passion flower indicates that several chemical components act together to cause these effects.

In addition, it is said to be of great service in epilepsy. Its narcotic properties cause it to be used in diarrhea and dysentery, neuralgia, and dysmenorrhoea.

Folk Medicine: Passion Flower is used internally for depressive states such as hysteria, general nervous agitation, insomnia and nervous gastrointestinal complaints. The herb is used externally for hemorrhoids and as a bath additive for nervous agitation.

Homeopathic Uses: Passion Flower is used for insomnia, convulsions and agitation.

The dried herb is generally available and is made into passion flower tea, tinctures, fluild extracts, and in Europe, sedative chewing gums.

Preparation: To make an infusion, pour 150 ml of hot water over 1 teaspoon herb and strain after 10 minutes. To make a rinse for the external treatment of hemorrhoids, put 20 gm drug into 200 ml simmering water, strain and use when cooled.

Tea: Pour 150 ml of hot water over 1 teaspoon of the herb and strain after 10 minutes. Drink 2 to 3 times throughout the day and one-half hour before bedtime.

External use: 20 gm of the herb in 200 ml simmering water. Strain and use when cool as a wash or rinse.

Culinary Uses for Passion Flower

Extract used to flavor alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and in frozen dairy products. Passion fruit is edible, but seedy. It can be used to make jelly, but its best usage may come from being a food source for several species of butterfly and their larvae.


Passion flower contains minute amounts of harman alkaloids which can reduce the effects of antidepressants based on monoamine oxidase inhibitors. In Germany, passion flower preparations may contain no more than 0.01 percent of harman alkaloids. Otherwise, no side effects or contraindications are reported for the herb.

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