Passionflower is an elaborate  vine that  received its name from Pope V in 1605.  He  saw the vine  as a symbol of the “Passion of Christ.” And in fact there is something truly celestial and provocative about the wild petals and crowned middle of the royal Passionflower. Indeed, Passionflower stirs the imagination and can be likened to our  network of neuronal highways or even to the most elaborate Buddhist mandala.

Passionflower’s remedy actually turns us inward, calms frayed nerves, and pacifies the mind and body. Her soothing purples remind us of the calming energies of Lavender; however, Passionflower’s gift is  for restoring those with physical or emotional exhaustion, and she is an excellent ally in times of change and stress. Passionflower’s signature is its historic use to aid those who  are sleepless and suffer from  a running mind.

L. Krenn in “Passion Flower- A Reliable Herbal Sedative” notes that  “Extracts and fluid extracts from the aerial parts from Passiflora incarnata L. are widely used as components of herbal sedatives. Many pharmacological investigations confirm the sedative effects of Passiflora herb. From some of the studies also anxiolytic {anti-anxiety} effects can be deduced.” (1)

Passionflower’s spectacular colors and shapes offer a cherished medicine for all ages in all walks of life. Rich in persuasive constituents like Flavones, Coumarins, and alkaloids it has also been discovered that Passionflower extract actually includes GABA as a prominent ingredient!(2) GABA is a chief inhibitory neurotransmitter (brain chemical) in the human central nervous system, and plays a role in regulating excitability and regulation of muscle tone. It has long been said that Passionflower relaxes and feeds the nerves, and it is now known that it is  partially comprised as the same matter as  the brain.

Passionflower can also help  those struggling with addiction, tension, irritability, and fear. Research has been done which suggests that “Passiflora extract is an effective drug for the management of generalized anxiety disorder and the low incidence of impairment of job performance” which accompanies pharmaceutical medication.(3)

So if you’re looking to calm the unruly mind, assist sleep, or recover from stress, then find divine inspiration in the beauty and brain food of Passionflower.

References:

[Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata L.)–a reliable herbal sedative]. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12244887

Passiflora incarnata L. (Passionflower) extracts elicit GABA currents in hippocampal neurons in vitro, and show anxiogenic and anticonvulsant effects in vivo, varying with extraction method. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20382514

Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11679026

Elizabeth Willis, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Certified Medical Herbalist

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.