Passionflower / Passiflora incarnata
It’s hard not to be captivated by the generous display of the striking purple flowers that the Passion vine offers us. Attracting a multitude of butterflies and pollinators, Passionflower is a persistent fruit-bearing vine that can quickly take over. Also known as Maypop, Passionflower boasts over 500 different varieties and colors usually found in tropical and semi-tropical climates across the globe. Texas has its own native varieties of Passionflower, but the deep purple Passiflora incarnata is considered the ‘official’ variety most often used in herbal medicine for sleep and stress support.
Passionflower has food and medicinal roots amongst many Native American tribes in the Southeastern U.S. as well as with many Indigenous cultures of Central and South America. It is said that the Passionflower was one of the first plants identified by Spanish settlers arriving in Florida in the early 16th century who noted that the flowers were a symbolic reflection of the Passion of Christ, from which Passionflower gets its name. After its discovery it was brought back to Europe where it became widely cultivated and a staple amongst folk herbalists and naturopaths in Western herbalism.
If you deal with sleep issues, Passionflower may become your new best friend! In herbal medicine today, Passionflower is used as a nervine, sedative, and as an antispasmodic. One of the most popular uses for Passionflower is its ability to promote restful sleep, especially in cases of insomnia due to circular thinking. It works directly on the central nervous system and has been shown to help increase GABA in the brain. It is often combined with other sleep-promoting herbs such as Valerian, Hops, and Chamomile. Some clinical studies comparing pharmaceuticals to Passionflower blended with other sedative herbs have found it to be as effective, making it a safe alternative. It is also effective in menopausal insomnia, and works well when paired with Motherwort.
In addition to sleep, Passionflower is often relied upon to help calm and soothe which makes it useful in cases of generalized stress. It can be useful in cases of mild hypertension, and is also often used for muscle spasms and nerve pain.
Passionflower is safe for everyone, and you will see it often in formulas for children and even pets! Peoples Rx has a number of supplements to offer that include Passionflower. We carry the single extract tincture by Gaia Herbs, or combined with CBD in a blend by Herb Pharm. It is part of many sleep formulas such as Pure Encapsulation’s Best Rest formula, Wishgarden’s Sleepy Nights, as well as many others! Stop in and have a chat about Passionflower with any of our knowledgeable Wellness Specialists!
Laurène Elliott-Deyris is an Herbalist and Wellness Specialist at Peoples Rx. She received her training at The Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine in Austin and is furthering her clinical studies with the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine program out of North Carolina.
Photo provided by Laurène Elliott-Deyris
**This article is not intended to be medical advice. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before use.**
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