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Uses of Passion Flowers

Passion Flower, a medicinal plant, is a naturally growing herb which has been approved in the treatment of insomnia and nervousness. This article provides some information on about the plant and its uses.
HolisticZine Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Passion Flower or Passiflora is a genus of about 500 species that come under the class Angiospermae (flowering plants). It is from the family Passifloraceae. Passiflora is the genus name. These plants are mostly vines, some are shrubs, and a few of them are herbs. It is a woody vine with attractive and bright-colored flowers. The plant produces small berry-like fruits called granadilla or water lemon. The aerial parts of the plant are collected during the fruiting season and then dried for future processing. The axillary bud is modified into the tendril. The family Passifloraceae is found worldwide, except in Europe and Antarctica. Passion Flower is a native perennial vine of the Southeastern United States. It can be found growing in sandy thickets and open fields, road slides, fence rows, and waste places. The flower is edible and medicinal.

The family consists mostly of climbing herbs with alternate leaves and tendrils growing from the leaf axils. Several species of this family are cultivated for their fruit in the tropics, and others in warm parts of the world for their showy flowers. The family takes its common name from myths and stories that have been told about its complicated and intricate blossoms, which are said to include many symbols of the crucifixion of Christ. The Christian symbolism of these flowers probably began with the conquistadors who reportedly saw the symbolism as a divine inspiration for their missionary work.

The vine can be cultivated by root or seed. It requires well-drained, sandy, and slightly acid soil in full sunlight. It has many beautiful, large, and aromatic flowers; it grows very quickly, and produces edible fruits. The flowers bloom from June to August. The Passion fruit is yellow-green when it is ripe and has the size of a hen's egg. The yellow pulp is sweet and edible. It has a unique flower structure. The size and structure of flowers of the different species may vary. The corona is well observed in this flower. Corona is an additional whorl made up of lobes, scales of hair, free or united. The mode of pollination is zoophily in which animals are the pollinating agents, however, some are self-pollinating. The species are used as food by the larva and moth.

This plant got its name from the center of the flower blossom. It resembles the Crown of Thorns given on Jesus of Nazareth. Furthermore, it symbolizes the crucifixion of Christ. During the early seventeenth century, it was professed to be seen by the early Jesuit priests and other explorers from Spain and Italy. This observation was interpreted as a sign of divine assurance for the success of their efforts to convert the natives to Catholicism.

Uses

1. It is believed to be used in herbalism as a sedative, hypnotic, anti-spasmodic, and analgesic. It has been used in the past specifically for neuralgia, generalized seizures, hysteria, tachycardia, headaches, asthma, insomnia, earaches, dysmenorrhea, and inflammations. Some herbalists use the flower for treating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. It is often used in combination with other herbs such as valerian, chamomile, and hops for promoting relaxation, rest, and sleep. With chamomile it has been used for anxiety, muscle tension, insomnia, and nervous headaches. However, its use with certain sedatives or even herbs that induce sleepiness or the same effect might result in too much of sleepiness or drowsiness.

2. In Italy, the flower has been used to treat hyperactive children.

3. It is considered to be of best use in nervous problems with children such as muscle twitching and irritability, and is also helpful with problems of concentration in school children.

4. It is believed to be used for increasing the rate of respiration and produces a temporary reduction in blood pressure. It helps to vitalize the sympathetic nervous system in weakened conditions improving circulation and nutrition of the nerve centers.

5. In elderly people, it is believed to be good for sciatica and general nerve debility.

6. The flowers are believed to be used to calm nerves that get on edge during the periods of hormonal adjustment that is common in most women.

7. It is rich in flavonoids. It is considered to be effective in the combinations to overcome alcohol abuse without the accompanying narcotic hangover.

8. It is believed to be helpful for people who do not want to continue dependence on synthetic sleeping pills and tranquilizers.

9. It is also believed that this flower kills the bacteria causing eye irritations. A claim has been made that in some cases it surpasses in results to commercial products, that are given for inflamed eyes and weakness of vision.

10. The flower is also believed to possess analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties to aid the sleeplessness caused by brain inflammations.

Considering the aforementioned uses, there is an insufficient evidence to rate its effectiveness in certain uses that include asthma, insomnia, nervous stomach, burns, hemorrhoids, heart problems, high blood pressure, seizures, fibromyalgia, and other conditions. Moreover, as there is insufficient evidence to substantiate these claims, an extensive research would be required. Furthermore, the intake should be in moderate amounts as its excessive use could adversely affect its efficacy, and even lead to certain side effects. When used as a medicine, the intake should be limited to a month. Some of the side-effects include confusion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, rapid heart rate, inflamed blood vessels, etc. Pregnant and breast-feeding mothers should avoid the use of passion flower. Also, there is an insufficient evidence of its safety regarding the application on skin. Ideally, it would be better to seek the consultation of a herbal practitioner, before opting for this flower as a remedy.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.