There are about 500 known species of passionflower. This family of plants is also known as Passiflora. Some studies suggest that certain species may have medicinal benefits. For example, Passiflora incarnata may help treat anxiety and insomnia.
Native Americans have used passionflower to treat a variety of conditions. These include boils, wounds, earaches, and liver problems.
Spanish explorers learned about passionflower from native Peruvians. They named these plants for their resemblance to a crucifix. In Christian traditions, “the Passion” is a term used to describe the final period of Jesus Christ’s life, including his crucifixion.
In Europe, people have used P. incarnata to treat restlessness and agitation. And some people use it to treat anxiety. The fruit is also used to flavor certain beverages.
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P. incarnata has many common names, including purple passionflower and maypop. Early studies suggest it might help relieve insomnia and anxiety. It appears to boost the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain. This compound lowers brain activity, which may help you relax and sleep better.
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Some trials suggest that purple passionflowermay also relieve anxiety. A study reported in the journal
Other members of the Passiflora family might help treat stomach problems. Passiflora foetida is more commonly known as stinking passionflower. In a study reported in the
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Because of this, it should not be taken with sedative medications. Also, it’s not safe for pregnant women or breast-feeding women. It may induce contractions if you’re pregnant.
You can add dried passionflower to boiling water to create an herbal tea. You can find dried passionflower or prepackaged tea at many health food stores. You can also find liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets.
Always talk to your doctor before trying passionflower as an alternative treatment. They can help you assess the potential benefits and risks.