Use of Passion Flower in Herbal Medicine
Passiflora spp., typically P. incarnata
Category: Sleep Tincture
Part used: Aerial parts
What is a Passion Flower?
Passion flower is a climbing vine-like plant with brightly coloured flowers that originates from the Americas. There are over 500 identified species of Passiflora, as it is known in Latin, with some species of Passion Flower bearing the popular exotic-tasting passion fruit.
The Passion Flower plant was first shared with Europeans after Spanish explorers learned about the plant from native Peruvians in the 16th century. The Passion Flower’s name is thought to originate after the flower’s appearance is compared to Christ’s crucifixion.¹
It is also known as Maypop, Wild Apricot, Water Lemons, and Passion Vine.
History Of Using Passion Flower In Herbal Medicine
Whilst it was originally brought over to Europe to be grown as an ornamental plant for its exquisite, complex, white and purple flowers, it has long been used as a medicine by Natives of the Americas as a sedative to treat sleeplessness and hysteria.
Passion Flower only began to be used by Western society in the late 19th century as a remedy for epilepsy and insomnia.
The Benefits of Passion Flower
Stress and sleep disturbance are the herb’s key uses but its tranquilising activity makes it potentially useful in relieving pain, for example, e.g. toothache and headache, as well as treating conditions associated with anxiety and nervous tension, such as asthma, palpitations, and high blood pressure. The herb is very safe and is non-addictive.
Improved Sleep Quality
A 2017 clinical trial concluded that the Passion Flower extract “appears to be effective in improving resilience (stress resistance) and quality of life in patients suffering from nervous restlessness and is well tolerated”.²
Most people who take it find they feel calmer and more relaxed – gently tranquilised if you like, and that if taken for insomnia, sleep quality is improved, generally without causing drowsiness.
Passion Flower has long been known to be a remedy used to reduce anxiety and nervous states. A clinical trial in 2001 compared used Passion Flower extracts to oxazepam, a commonly prescribed anxiety medication, and found that that passionflower was just as effective at relieving anxiety with fewer reported side effects.³
Another study was conducted where participants were given a Passion Flower extract alongside the anti-anxiety treatment Sertraline. It concluded that passion Flower may be a suitable supplementary treatment with minimal side effects to treat anxiety.⁴
The results indicate that Passion Flower extracts are an effective treatment for anxiety, as well as other conditions such as heart palpitations and high blood pressure.
The sedative properties of Passion Flower make the plant similar to the known tranquilising effects of Valerian. In fact, taking Passion Flower has beneficial painkiller effects that can help to soothe headaches, toothache, and cramps.
Lowers Blood Pressure
The tranquilising effects of Passiflora have been known to lower blood pressure levels, and a 2007 study found that a daily dose of passion fruit peel extract significantly reduced blood pressure.⁵
Many studies have recently taken place that has demonstrated a range of other beneficial uses of passion Flower extract. These include:
- Antidiabetic effects
- Antidepressant effects
- Reduces symptoms of asthma
- Alleviates osteoarthritis symptoms
How to Take Passion Flower
Tinctures are generally stronger concentrations than infusions, so the Passion Flower extract is often added to water. Our own Passion Flower Sleep Tincture is ideal for people with insomnia or that are struggling to switch off.
Or, to help you de-stress and unwind, our Chill tincture for anxiety contains a blend of Passion Flower, Lavender, and Lemon Balm. All three of which are known to have a calming effect.
Our vegan and non-alcoholic herbal tinctures are made from a blend of purified water and quality herbs and can be sipped or diluted in water.
You can drink a Passion Flower infusion, which can be drunk hot or cold. Place 1 tsp of dried Passion Flower in a strainer and fill the cup with hot water. Let the flowers infuse for around 10 minutes. You can then remove the strainer, and add honey to sweeten if required.
It is possible to infuse Passion Flower into oil for aromatherapy. Passion Flower oil can be used for massages to ease inflamed or aching muscles.
The Side Effects Of Taking Passion Flower
Clinical research on the effect of Passion Flower is fairly limited, though mostly positive. Many of the aforementioned studies did not result in harmful side effects. The ingredient is included in many national Pharmacopoeias, for example in Brazil, France - indicating proven safety and efficacy.
Is It Safe To Take Passion Flowers Every Day?
Because of its known sedative effects, Passion Flower extracts in high doses are not recommended during pregnancy.
- Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia Of Herbal Medicine: 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments. United Kingdom, Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2016
- Gibbert JA et al. Improvement of Stress Resistance and Quality of Life of Adults with Nervous Restlessness after Treatment with a Passion Flower Dry Extract. Complement Med Res. 2017;24:83-89.
- Akhondzadeh, S et al. “Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam.” Journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics vol. 26,5 (2001): 363-7. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2710.2001.00367.
- Nojoumi, Mandana et al. “Effects of Passion Flower Extract, as an Add-On Treatment to Sertraline, on Reaction Time in Patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study.” Iranian journal of psychiatry vol. 11,3 (2016): 191-197.
- Watson, Ronald Ross et al. “Oral administration of the purple passion fruit peel extract reduces wheeze and cough and improves shortness of breath in adults with asthma.” Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.) vol. 28,3 (2008): 166-71. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2008.01.003