Passionflower is a useful plant against anxiety, agitation and insomnia. Let’s find out what are its properties, uses and contraindications.
What is passionflower
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a plant belonging to the Passifloracee family. It is a common species in the southern United States and Mexico. It is cultivated for ornamental purposes and for herbal and phytotherapeutic use, in consideration of its therapeutic properties.
The passionflower drug is represented by the aerial parts, therefore stems and leaves, generally collected before and during flowering, when the content of active ingredients (especially flavonoids) is maximum. Passionflower has traditionally been attributed sedative and antispasmodic properties, then confirmed thanks to research.
What passionflower is used for
The passionflower plant is used to treat:
- nervousness and irritability;
- restlessness and agitation;
- mood disorders;
- mild insomnia;
- gastrointestinal disorders of nervous origin.
The effects of passionflower are given by the phytocomplex consisting of alkaloids, flavonoids, maltol, phenolic acids, coumarins, phytosterols and essential oil.
To enjoy the benefits of passionflower you can consume it in the form of an infusion, mother tincture or capsules and tablets prepared with powder. Passionflower infusion is prepared with 2 grams of dried drug in 150 milliliters of warm water for 15 minutes. You can drink up to four cups a day.
As for the mother tincture of passionflower, 30 drops of it are taken diluted in water, up to three times a day in case of shaking. To promote sleep, the recommended dose is 40 drops before bedtime.
In case of insomnia, passionflower can be associated with hops and valerian; for digestive problems it works in synergy with fennel, dandelion and chamomile; to treat anxiety and palpitations it is associated with chamomile and hawthorn.
How is passionflower grown?
Passionflower is a climbing plant also cultivated for ornamental purposes in the garden or in pots on balconies or terraces. The cultivation of passionflower is very simple and can start from a plant purchased in the nursery or from a cutting taken in spring from adult plants.
Passionflower has no particular needs, it is a rustic and resistant plant and even invasive if grown in open ground. To take care of passionflower it is enough to guarantee it a support on which to cling, wet the soil regularly avoiding stagnation of water and fertilize during the summer months, especially if the plant is grown in pots.
In a short time the passionflower will produce grayish green woody stems, which can reach considerable lengths, up to ten meters, covering pergolas or gates to which the plant will climb thanks to cirrus clouds.
In spring, passionflower produces a large amount of leaves that guarantee shade and privacy. The passionflower leaves are alternate, divided into three lobes of different sizes and a beautiful bright green. In the warmer regions, passionflower retains its foliage even in the winter months, while in the North it tends to lose them and then produce new ones with the arrival of spring.
The flowers of passionflower bloom in summer, they are large and solitary, devoid of perfume but very ornamental. They consist of five green sepals externally, white or purplish internally, and have a corolla of five white or purple petals, a double crown of petal-like red-purple appendages. They have five stamens with orange anthers carried by a central column and velvety ovary surmounted by three styles and three stigmas. After flowering, fruits develop, oval and pulpy yellow berries, rich in small seeds.
What does passionflower symbolize?
Passionflower symbolizes the passion of Christ and for this reason it is also called passion plant, as well as flowers and fruits are also known as passion flower and passion fruit.
The reason lies in the shape of the flowers and leaves of passionflower. The circle composed of the appendages of the passionflower flower represent in fact the crown of thorns of Jesus, the three styles are associated with the nails used for the crucifixion, the leaves divided into three lobes represent the spear and the cirrus clouds the stirrup.
Side effects and contraindications
Passionflower is considered a safe remedy, free of toxicity and side effects at therapeutic doses.
However, the use of passionflower is contraindicated in case of hypersensitivity to one or more of its components since it could trigger allergic reactions. It is good not to use passionflower before surgery, during pregnancy and lactation and in case of cardiac arrhythmias.
As for possible interactions, passionflower preparations may increase the effect of sedatives, sleep inducers, alcohol and antidepressant drugs, so it is not recommended to administer them simultaneously with these medicines or alcoholic beverages.