All about Passiflora, the melancholic flower for your relax
Passiflora, also known as passion flower, is the most relaxing of medicinal plants, a real cure-all for those searching for deep sleep, calm of the senses and total peace. Let's discover properties, benefits and uses of the passion flower.
Passiflora: botanical anatomy of the plant
Its official name is Passiflora (but you may know it as passion flower or passion vine) a name that comes from the Passifloraceae family which includes more than 520 species. Native to North America, passiflora is a perennial climbing herb. Its largest basin of biodiversity can be found in Central and South America, but several specimens can be encountered in Australia and Southeast Asia too.
The used parts of the plant are the branches, especially when the first fruits develop, and the flowering ends. A precious extract can be obtained from its aerial components that is widely used due to its calming and antispasmodic effects. The flowers are large, beautiful, with long white peduncles and a triple pink and purple crown. It’s the peculiar shape of the flowers, reminiscent of a crown of thorns, and of the leaves, compared to nails and spears, that have given the plant the name passion flower, which refers to the Passion of Christ.
The famous passion fruit (or maracuja) is none other than the fruit of a number of plants in the genus Passiflora.
History and origins of the passiflora
Legend has it that in Mexico, in 1610, Emmanuel de Villegas, a missionary, noticed a fruit plant called “granadilla” by the natives, cultivated and appreciated for its fruits. The monk was immediately attracted by its flowers which, in his opinion, recalled, due to the particular shape, the crown of thorns and the spear of the Passion of Christ.
Later, the Jesuit Giacomo Bosio reported the plant within the “Treatise on the crucifixion of our Lord”, and from there the botanist Linnaeus inserted the plant in his botanical treatise with the name of Passiflora Incarnata, from the Latin passio, “passion”, and flos,“ flower ”.
Durante la Prima guerra mondiale la passiflora veniva somministrata ai soldati come naturale trattamento rilassante: come vedremo nel capitolo successivo, i flavonoidi, benzoflavoni, glucosidi, alcaDuring the First World War, passionflower was given to soldiers as a natural relaxing treatment: as we will see in the next chapter, the flavonoids, benzoflavone, glycosides, alkaloids and essential oils contained have an important calming action on the central nervous system.
Passiflora: properties and benefits
Passiflora has been used for centuries in traditional European and American medicine for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety and as a sedative tea. In various regions of the world this plant has always been used for analgesic, antispasmodic, antiasthmatic and sedative purposes. In India it was prescribed to treat opium addiction.
Multiple studies have recently confirmed the positive effect of the passiflora on the duration and quality of sleep: this plant is the undisputed queen of rest, perfect for the treatment of insomnia or restless sleep. Not only that: it is also very useful for the treatment of anxiety and stress thanks to the substances contained in the plant (flavonoids), with a strong hypotensive action.
Other uses of the passiflora are related to its antispastic properties on muscles and for the treatment of various forms of visceral anxious somatization (gastric cramps, irritable bowel, emotional tension, tachycardia, etc.)
How to use passiflora
The part used for medicinal purposes is the dried aerial part, available in the form of herbal teas, supplements and hydroalcoholic solutions. In addition to the better known calming and sedative effects, it is also used in herbal medicine against menstrual pain and stress for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. From a cosmetic point of view, it is the flower extraction, with its sensual fragrance, that is used to make colognes, shower gels, shampoos and lotions.
Are you looking for some well-deserved rest and a good restorative sleep? Then try our Remedium n.1 – Night: here the miraculous passiflora is combined with other plants for a powerful relaxing and sedative result. More than herbal tea: a perfect cure-all to end a long day, help you sleep and improve the quality of your night’s rest.
Fun facts about passiflora
Did you know? In the language of flowers and plants, passiflora is the symbol of religious faith.
In fact there are several legends related to the meaning of its spiritual symbol: one of these tells that centuries ago, at the arrival of the Spring Fairy, all the plants woke up from their long winter sleep thanks to her touch, throwing out buds, leaves and flowers. Only one seedling woke up late, and by the time it did, spring was already far away. The plant then prayed to Christ to make it bloom like all other plants. The Lord replied: “Don’t worry, you will bloom too.” “When?” The little plant anxiously asked. “One day…” Jesus replied with his eyes veiled with sadness.
When spring returned, all the plants bloomed, except for the nameless seedling. It was then that the wind brought an echo of tears, laments and screams: they were those of a man advancing through the crowd, bent under the weight of a very heavy cross. His face was disfigured by pain and blood. When he passed closer a tear mixed with blood fell on the little plant.
Immediately a strange and beautiful flower blossomed, bearing in its corolla the instruments of the passion of Jesus: a crown, a hammer and nails. Thus a new flower was born: the passiflora or passion flower.
Guerrero FA, Medina GM. Effect of a medicinal plant (Passiflora incarnata L) on sleep. Sleep Sci. 2017;10(3):96-100. doi:10.5935/1984-0063.20170018
Passiflora incarnata L.: Ethnopharmacology, clinical application, safety and evaluation of clinical trials
“Piante Medicinali – Chimica, Farmacologia e Terapia” di R. Benigni, C. Capra e P.F.Cattorini