Passion flower is a lovely purple flower, native to the Americas, that has medicinal properties. The name passion flower was coined in the 15th century by Spanish missionaries in Peru who found the flower as a symbol of crucifixion. There are about 500 various species of passion flower some of them are believed to have medicinal properties in certain cultures. For example, while the native Americans used passion flower to treat a variety of conditions like boils and wounds and even liver problems, Europeans believe they can be used to treat restlessness and agitation. The flower is now wildly used as a tonic to strengthen the nervous system and as a remedy to stress and anxiety. This flower also goes by the name apricot vine, passion vine, water lemon, etc.
These days, dried passion flower powder is available with prepackaged tea that is easy to consume. You can also powder dried flower and boil it with water or tea. Let’s explore the hidden medicinal benefits of this beautiful flower.
1. It Calms the Mind
Everyone gets anxious once in a while. This occasional anxiety is a natural response to changes and challenging situations. But when anxiety begins to affect the day to day life, it is considered a medical problem. Passiflora Incarnata, a species of passion flower, is believed to have anxiety-relieving or anxiolytic effect. Though it is largely considered a folk medicine, research has corroborated its effect on relieving anxiety.1 Studies have also shown that passion flower can significantly lower stress levels.2 Researchers believe that this is largely because passion flower increases levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a mood-regulating chemical in the brain that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter countering neurotransmitters that cause excitement.
Passion flower has also been used conventionally as a treatment for ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.3 Some studies have hinted at its possible effect in ADHD treatment but no significant data is available to conclude that it is a good remedy for ADHD.4 In a study on rats, it was observed that long-term administration of the flower can have an effect on anxiety, spatial learning and neurotransmission which can be a good indication that it may also help reduce some ADHD symptoms.5
2. Sleep Better With Passion Flower Potion
Stress making you sleep less? The solution could well be in those passion flower petals. It improves sleep quality and studies have shown that it could treat cases of insomnia as well. In case of insomnia, passion flower maybe even more effective when combined with one or more herbs. Herbs like valerian, hops, and lemon balm are found to be the best combination for passion flower in treating insomnia. In a study done on 78 subjects to compare the effect of sleep drug Zolpidem to a combination of these herbs, the result showed that the herb combination is as effective as the drug when it came to improving insomnia, total sleep time, time taken to initially fall asleep, number of nightly awakenings, and insomnia severity.6 This makes the herb combination a better and natural alternative to sleep drugs in treating insomnia.
3. Helps Alleviate Opioid Withdrawal
Opioids are a group of drugs like morphine and heroine used to manage severe pain. They not only relax the mind and relieve the pain, they also create a euphoric feeling in the brain. Opioid dependence is fairly common and if left untreated, it can develop into opioid withdrawal syndrome which is a life-threatening condition. Passion flower extract is found to be effective in the treatment of anxiety due to its anxiolytic effect. This also makes it a good secondary treatment for opiate withdrawal after the use of clonidine, a drug commonly used for opioid withdrawal which is found to treat physiological symptoms and not the psychological symptom of withdrawal.7
4. It Eases Menopause Symptoms
Menopause is a difficult time for women since it sends the hormones on an overdrive. It can lead to mood swings, hormonal imbalances, anxiety and sleep disorders. Passion flower extract can be a good antidote to these symptoms as it has shown to be an effective treatment for mood swings.8
5. Effective Treatment for Seizure
A seizure is the result of abnormally synchronized electrical activity in the brain. How it manifests depends on the region of the brain involved. Native Americans have used passion flower extract as a remedy for seizures. Passion flower has many constituents like flavonoids and active ingredients like chrysin and together, they are shown to inhibit the effects of the electrical activity.9
Do They Have Any Side Effects?
While passion flower extract is a good remedy for a lot of conditions, it can have some side effects. The most noticeable ones are drowsiness, sleepiness and confusion. It is also not advisable during pregnancy.10
How To Prepare Passion Flower Tea?
It is very simple to make passion flower tea and is the easiest way to make the most of this herb. Take a teapot and one teaspoon of dried passion flower per cup of water in the teapot. Alternatively, you can use the fresh herb, too. Pour the boiling water into your teapot and let the tea steep for about five to 10 minutes. Strain the tea and drink it warm.
|↑1||Akhondzadeh, Shahin, H. R. Naghavi, M. Vazirian, A. Shayeganpour, H. Rashidi, and M. Khani. “Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: A pilot double‐blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam.” Journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics 26, no. 5 (2001): 363-367.|
|↑2, ↑3, ↑5||Jawna‐Zboińska, Katarzyna, Kamilla Blecharz‐Klin, Ilona Joniec‐Maciejak, Adriana Wawer, Justyna Pyrzanowska, Agnieszka Piechal, Dagmara Mirowska‐Guzel, and Ewa Widy‐Tyszkiewicz. “Passiflora incarnata L. improves spatial memory, reduces stress, and affects neurotransmission in rats.” Phytotherapy Research 30, no. 5 (2016): 781-789.|
|↑4||Akhondzadeh, Shahin, M. R. Mohammadi, and F. Momeni. “Passiflora incarnata in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents.” Clinical Practice 2, no. 4 (2005): 609.|
|↑6||Guerrero, Fructuoso Ayala, and Graciela Mexicano Medina. “Effect of a medicinal plant (Passiflora incarnata L) on sleep.” Sleep Science 10, no. 3 (2017): 96.|
|↑7||Akhondzadeh, S., L. Kashani, M. Mobaseri, S. H. Hosseini, S. Nikzad, and M. Khani. “Passionflower in the treatment of opiates withdrawal: a double‐blind randomized controlled trial.” Journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics 26, no. 5 (2001): 369-373.|
|↑8||Fahami, Fariba, Zahra Asali, Abolfazl Aslani, and Nahid Fathizadeh. “A comparative study on the effects of Hypericum Perforatum and passion flower on the menopausal symptoms of women referring to Isfahan city health care centers.” Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research 15, no. 4 (2010): 202.|
|↑9||Elsas, S-M., D. J. Rossi, J. Raber, G. White, C-A. Seeley, W. L. Gregory, C. Mohr, T. Pfankuch, and A. Soumyanath. “Passiflora incarnata L.(Passionflower) extracts elicit GABA currents in hippocampal neurons in vitro, and show anxiogenic and anticonvulsant effects in vivo, varying with extraction method.” Phytomedicine 17, no. 12 (2010): 940-949.|
|↑10||Miroddi, M., G. Calapai, M. Navarra, P. L. Minciullo, and S. Gangemi. “Passiflora incarnata L.: ethnopharmacology, clinical application, safety and evaluation of clinical trials.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 150, no. 3 (2013): 791-804.|