Passion Flower Facts
Passion flower facts include that it is a hardy, woody vine that grows up to 10 m long and puts off tendrils so that it can climb and grow on other plants in the rainforest. The appearance of the flower is quite striking; large white flowers with pink or purple centers. The flower gets its name from Spanish missionaries who associated the flowers with the Passion of the Christ. The passion flower vine produces a tasty fruit which is about the size of a large lemon, wrinkling slightly when ripe. The flower is indigenous to many tropical and semi-tropical areas from South America to North America. There are over 200 varieties.
Indigenous tribes throughout the rainforest use the passion flower for its sedative and pain relieving properties. The fruit is used to calm coughs and to heal ailments of the heart. The yellow, gelatinous pulp inside the fruit is eaten out of hand, as well as mixed with water and sugar to make drinks, sherbet, jams and jellies, and even salad dressings.
The passion flower is currently used in herbal medicine as a sedative, antispasmodic and nerve tonic. It's reported that the flower can alleviate headaches, bruises and general pain by applying the bruised leaves topically to the affected area. Used as a tea, the flower is purported to help ease colic, diarrhea, dysentery, menstrual difficulties, insomnia, neuralgia, eye disorders, epilepsy and convulsions, and muscle spasms and pain. Interestingly, in South America the fruit juice is also used as a natural remedy to calm hyperactive children. Most recently, scientists have found that the flower helps with anxiety and fertility.
Passion Flower and Anxiety
The anti-anxiety and hypotensive actions of passion flower leaves were clinically validated in the early 1980's. Extracts of the flower were able to tranquilize animals effectively.
Passion Flower and Fertility
Although the passion flower has been studied scientifically for over 100 years, new research seems to continually unveil new benefits. Most recently, scientists have found that passion flower is an effective aphrodisiac. A passion flower leaf extract was reported to improve overall sexual function, increase sperm count and fertilization potential.
Is it Safe?
Passion flower facts also include an excellent safety profile. The FDA regards the flower as safe and a long traditional use of the flower in Europe indicates that it is safe even for children and infants.
Although it may seem like the passion flower is something of a "cure-all," modern science has affirmed most of the claims about the flower made by traditional herbalists. It's also important to remember that the passion flower does not completely cure the said dysfunctions or symptoms, but rather helps to alleviate them.