Part Used: Dried flowering tips (leaf, flower & tender stem)
Passion Flowers (Passiflora incarnate) 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. It 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 plant is native to North, Central, and South America. It is a woody, hairy, climbing vine whose stems, 3-10m long, climb by means of axillary tendrils. The major constituents found in Passion Flower are primarily 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.
Most research on Passion Flower has been done in animal studies related to its antispasmodic and sedative properties. Extracts of the herb inhibit fungi and bacteria. Studies indicate that the herb (or its extracts) relieves spasms, has a sedative effect, allays anxiety, and lowers blood pressure. In European herbal medicine, Passion Flower are used for nervous tension, especially in sleep disturbances or anxiety arising from restlessness. Passion Flower is commonly used in the treatment of nervous conditions, and is normally administered as part of a prolonged treatment. It helps in the treatment of intransigent insomnia, by aiding the transition into a restful sleep without any 'narcotic' hangover. The alkaloids and flavonoids are reported to have tranquillizing effects. It may be used wherever an antispasmodic is required, e.g. in Parkinson's disease, seizures and hysteria and is effective in the relief of nerve pain in neuralgia and shingles. It is also of benefit in asthma where there is much spasmodic activity, especially when there is associated tension. It is often used as a supportive drug, and is found in many tea mixtures and proprietary herbal medicines. It 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. It is the herb of choice for treating intransigent insomnia. It aids the transition into a restful sleep without any 'narcotic' hangover.
Holistic Online. http://www.holisticonline.com/Herbal-Med/_Herbs/h277.htm
Purple Sage Botanicals. http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/passionflower.htm