Passion flower: health benefits and virtues
The passionflower, a climbing plant, grows in the tropical regions of South America, in ditches, in wet and fertile soil and even on the edges of fields.
Highly coveted by gardeners and a favorite of botanical conservators, passionflower exists in several species, of which more than four hundred are listed worldwide.
Generally distributed in tropical and warm temperate regions, several species of passionflower are also found in tropical Africa, Australia and Asia.
However, it is particularly its medicinal virtues that will draw our attention throughout this article.
In this article we will focus specifically on “Passiflora incarnata”: this species has its origins in the United States and is distinguished from the others by the fact that in winter it resists the cold even though it has lost its leaves.
The precise mechanism by which it does so is unknown, but this multi-named plant may inhibit the activity of certain brain enzymes.
But what are its virtues and health benefits? How to use it wisely? Did you know that the food industry and medicine have found it interesting?
This is what you need to know…
Passionflower: a little bit of history
Where does the name “passionary” come from?
According to some writings, the passion flower is a legend...
This flower is characterized by:
- Filaments in the center that would recall the Passion of Christ. In fact, in number 72, these filaments would make one think of the crown of thorns and more precisely of the number of thorns surrounding the crown of Christ a pistil that would make one think of the 3 nails that were used for the crucifixion
- 5 stamens whose base is red and that would allude to the 5 wounds of Christ, and finally, the sharp point of the passion flower blade makes one think of the lower part of the lance that the soldier would have used to pierce the heart of Christ.
Thus, the origin of the name of the passionflower would be inspired by the story of the Italian monk Jacomo Bosio who, in 1609, met the flower (unknown in Europe) thanks to the Mexican monk Emmanuel de Villegas, who was traveling to Rome.
Absolutely amazed and marveled, the Italian monk set himself the mission to “bring absolute proof of the existence of Christ and His Passion” through this incredible plant!
Passion Flower: virtues and health benefits
Several names are attributed to passion fruit: passion fruit, passion fruit, passion flower or passion fruit, this fabulous plant has the ability to combat anxiety and sleep disorders.
In fact, several passiflora compounds have the same effect as GABA (a calming neurotransmitter) on the affected brain regions. From there, the passion flower can calm the nervous system, provoking relaxation for a peaceful sleep.
Containing several flavonoids (which are known antioxidants concentrated in the leaves), passionflower can also have anxiolytic effects.
It is because of its calming effect, effective in reducing stress and anxiety, that passionflower is the most widely used in phytotherapy.
Thus, the WHO, the Commission E and the European Scientific Cooperation in Phytotherapy (ESCOP) recognize the use of passionflower to treat states of agitation and nervousness.
The flavonoids, alkaloids and maltol contained in the aerial parts of the plant would act synergistically to improve these symptoms. Studies have been conducted since the 1990s in an attempt to demonstrate the calming effects of passionflower.
Two of them have studied its effects when combined with other soothing plants and a third has demonstrated the effectiveness of Euphytose® – a combination of 6 plant extracts including passion flower – in improving anxiety disorders.
Only in 2001 a study conducted in Tehran4 examined the effect of isolated passionflower extract, when added to oxazepam, a recognized anxiolytic drug.
The results of this study “suggest that Passiflora extract is an effective drug for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder”.
This time it is the passion fruit, called “passion fruit”, which is used for its beneficial effects on asthma.
An American study conducted in 20085 shows that passion fruit peel extracts cause “a marked increase in forced vital capacity” and can “be safely offered to asthmatic subjects as an alternative treatment option to reduce clinical symptoms. »
The slightly sedative effect of passionflower, combined with its antispasmodic effect, makes passionflower an effective natural treatment for painful periods and premenstrual syndrome.
The WHO mentions the use of passionflower in the treatment of menstrual pain.
Use of the Pasionaria
In phytotherapy, the aerial parts of the species “Passiflora incarnata” are used for their sedative and anxiolytic effect.
In gastronomy, it is the fruit of the “Passiflora edulis” (or pomegranate) which is very appreciated for its spicy taste. It is used in the preparation of coulis, exotic fruit juices or even sorbets.
Others see it as an ornamental plant: it is therefore the “Passiflora caerulea” or blue passiflora which is very appreciated but above all, cultivated in continental France.
Based on the calming effects of passionflower, Iranian researchers have studied its effects on drug addicts in the withdrawal period when taken in combination with clonidine, a basic treatment used for opiate detoxification.
The results are conclusive: “the passion flower plus clonidine group showed significant superiority over clonidine alone in the treatment of mental symptoms”.
Therapeutic benefits of passionflower
– of poultices, the Amerindians used passion flower leaves to heal bruises and wounds. – fruit juice, the Amerindians used it to relieve eye pain. In addition, they crushed the leaves of the “passion fruit” and used them to relieve skin rashes, burns and even to treat hemorrhoids.
In fact, passionflower is usually indicated in cases where the patient suffers from neurasthenia, insomnia, cerebral excitement and even shows symptoms of nervous conditions such as hysteria, anxiety and palpitations.
Antispasmodic, passionflower is also used to treat menopausal disorders, neuralgia, epilepsy and even spasmodic asthma.
Recently, its antitussive properties have been discovered, which would certify its traditional use to relieve asthma.
Read also: The benefits and virtues of passion fruit
Uses, doses, instructions for use of passionflower
To overcome anxiety and insomnia, it is recommended to take passionflower in the form of :
– Infusion: To prepare it, boil half a liter of water. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of
Dried Passionflower (without roots). Boil for about 10 minutes. Filter. As for the dose, to benefit from its anxiolytic and soothing effects, a dose 3 times a day before bedtime is indicated.
According to other recommendations, to prepare a good anti-stress infusion, take 1/4 glass of lavender buds, add 1 glass of dried chamomile mustard, 1/4 glass of dried lemon verbena, 1/4 glass of rosehip (the fruits of the rosehip) and 1/4 glass of dried passion flower.
Mix everything together. Then add one tablespoon of this mixture for each cup of herbal tea. Pour boiling water over it and let it stand for five minutes. Filter, sweeten and drink.
– Tincture: often associated with lemon balm or hops, it is advisable to take 1 to 2 ml, 1 to 3 times a day.
– It is recommended to take one or two doses of 350 mg once or twice a day.
Virtues and benefits of the passionary
- Passionflower or its derivatives are known to calm the nervous system, are widely used today as hypnotics and sedatives. Passion flower is recommended in cases of insomnia due to alcoholic intoxication, menopause, nervous excitement or neurasthenia. In people who are worried or overworked, passionflower reduces anxiety.
Good to know: the sleep it induces is natural. Its use does not lead to addiction or a nervous breakdown. Rest assured.
- Period pains and headaches are well relieved by passionflower. Its antispasmodic virtues are also recognized in cases of asthma, hypertension, palpitations or muscle cramps.
- In the animals the effect of the pasiflora has been recognized in cases of excess of cannabis (the pasiflora inhibits its psychotropic effect).
Did you know that?
- Internal use
Passion flower infusion: let it infuse 25 min in 1 l of boiling water 25 g of flowers. Consume 2 or 3 cups per day, including at least 1 at night 1 hour before going to bed. It calms nervousness, promotes sleep and helps to wean you from addictions such as alcohol.
Passion flower tincture: macerate 200 g of dry and blunt flowers in 1 liter of 60% vol. alcohol. Close the bottle for 10 days, shaking it from time to time. Filter. Consume 40 or 50 drops of this tincture before going to bed.
In high doses, passionflower can cause drowsiness and even altered consciousness. So, the piano...
It is good to know about the Passionflower
Passionflower may cause drowsiness and dizziness in some subjects.
You can go up:
- Actions or interactions between certain sedative drugs,
- The actions of the plants,
- The activity of anticoagulants.
Practical advice on passionflower
Passionflower would be useful in the treatment:
– decreased libido, azoospermia or sterility, which are often experienced by smokers and alcohol users,
– extreme anxiety due to abstinence from alcohol, opiates or even cannabis.
The consumption of this plant is strongly recommended to pregnant women.
In any case, it is always advisable to seek the advice of your doctor or a specialist (pharmacist, herbalist or herbalist) before opting for an herbal treatment.
Side effects and contraindications
At recommended doses, passionflower is usually very well tolerated and does not cause side effects.
In higher doses, it can cause mild drowsiness, headaches, mild vision problems or digestive problems (nausea, vomiting) in rare cases.
It is recommended not to combine it with certain treatments: sleeping pills, anxiolytics, antidepressants, antiepileptics… so as not to increase its sedative effect.
Regular use of passionflower is not recommended during pregnancy as it may promote uterine contractions. Breastfeeding women should also avoid regular consumption, as the active ingredients are likely to be passed into the milk.
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