Do you get tension headaches? Do you toss and turn, unable to fall asleep because you are overstressed, anxious and exhausted? Do you need a restful, sound sleep without the addictive side effects usually associated with synthetic sedatives? Perhaps it is time to think of Passion Flower. Native Americans knew this secret hundreds of years ago, and today, many European herbalists prescribe Passion Flower for insomnia, nervous anxiety and relief of pain and neuralgia. It just might provide the relief you need.
What is Passion Flower?
Passion Flower is the State Flower of Tennessee and a perennial woody vine with a trailing stem that can climb to the tops of many trees seeking the sun, often covering spans up to thirty feet in length. There are about four hundred known species of Passiflora, and most are natives of the Americas. Passiflora is native to North, Central, and South America and grows along hedgerows, on the edges of woods, in thickets and over open ground. It bears white to pale lavender flowers of about two inches across with edible berries.
History of Passion Flower
In the sixteenth century, early Spanish explorers were astounded by the beauty of the exotic climbing vine that resembled elements of the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and named it Passion Flower in honor of the agonies of Christ.
They soon found it to be a source of medicine for the Native Americans. The Houma tribe added it to drinking water as a tonic, and in the Yucatan, it was a remedy for insomnia, hysteria and convulsions in children. Other tribes used it in poultices to heal bruises, and the early Algonquians brewed Passion Flower in a tea to soothe their nerves. In 1783, a visiting European doctor described its use as a remedy for epilepsy, and other early physicians prescribed the fruit juice as a wash for sore and tired eyes.
The plant was largely ignored in conventional North American medicine until the late 1800s, when it became a popular nineteenth-century remedy for insomnia. It finally received official
Medical Uses of Passion Flower
Passion Flower may be a useful bridge between traditional herbal medicine and the treatment for modern ills, especially in cases of anxious states, depression and patients trying to wean themselves from synthetic sleeping pills and tranquilizers.
Despite the dearth of research into Passion Flower in the United States, the herb is frequently prescribed in Europe to ease tension, restlessness, irritability and mild insomnia. However, because of its increased popularity and use in the United States, clinical trials will hopefully be conducted to determine why the plant appears to produce effective results. Aside from its medicinal value, the fruits are pulped for jams and deserts, and because they create a popping sound when mashed, the plant received one of its common names, “Maypop.”
Some of the constituents in Passion Flower are alkaloids (harmaline, maltol, etc.), flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin, etc.), quercetin, rutin, kaempferol, vitexin, saponarin, amino acids, glycosides, gums and calcium.
Treatments using Passion Flower
– Passion Flower is a very
– Its relaxing qualities appear to extend to relaxing spasms, relieving muscle tension and other manifestations of extreme anxiety. This is beneficial for restless leg syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and irritable bowel syndrome.
– Passionflower is considered an anodyne that reduces pain, and as such, is used to relieve headache and nerve pain, the pain of shingles and dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation).