Habitat & Cultivation:
“Passiflora incarnata L., which originated in North America, is the most common variety used in contemporary Western phytotherapy. This species, commonly known by the English name maypop, is native to the south-eastern United States, but is also cultivated in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, both as an ornamental and as a medicinal plant” (Miroddi et al., 2013). Based on American Botanical Council (2000) passionflower is native to the “tropical and semi-tropical southern United States (ranging from Virginia to Florida and as far west as Missouri and Texas), Mexico, and central and South America, now cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions, including Florida, Guatemala, and India.”
In Washington State passionflower does not thrive as well as it does in warmer regions, however, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to blossom in some of the warmer regions of WA State.
Parts Used/Collection: .
Leaf and the whole plant
Nervine Hoffman (2003) explains passionflower to have sedative and soothing benefits. This can be therapeutic for one who has nerve pain, by calming and relaxing the body. Miroddi (2013) discusses the traditional use of passionflower to be for hysteria and neurasthenia for its sedative and soothing properties.
Hypnotic Both the alkaloids and flavonoids in passionflower are shown to have sedative effects on animal studies. These sedative effects are beneficial for instances of insomnia. Miroddi et al. (2013) explains the traditional use of passionflower for insomnia and nervousness.
Antispasmodic Passionflower has sedative benefits, which is why the plant is used for cases of insomnia. One of the flavonoids in passionslower, apigenin, is known for the anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects (Hoffman, 2003). With these relaxing properties, passionflower is therapeutic for diseases/ activity with spasmodic behavior. Hoffman (2003) includes examples of Parkinson’s, seizures, and asthma. *References below in week 3 references*
Hypotensive Passionflower appears to have a direct depressant effect on CNS activity. Smooth and skeletal muscle are both down-regulated (Marciano & Vizniak, 2018). Less specifically, there appears to be multiple historical uses in situations where body systems are afflicted with spasm-related conditions (diarrhea, dysmenorrhea, epilepsy) (Miroddi, et al., 2013)
Anxiety with tachycardia, insomnia and restlessness, muscle and nervous tension (Marciano & Vizniak, 2018). Most sources list no contraindications, but Tilgner cautions that Harman and harmoline are uterine stimulants (2009, p. 132).
Helpful for those experiencing the opposite of the qualities listed above, those with too much warm, dry, rough, light, mobile. In ayurveda, this may be seen as pitta or vata. Kapha may be aggravated by milk thistle, depending on the situation. This is one of the more grounding liver herbs (we will go over liver herbs next quarter), which can be something you’re looking for.
Indole alkaloids, Flavonoids, Fatty acids, Acids, Coumrins, Cyanogentic glycosides, Volatile oil
Nervous, smooth and skeletal muscle (Marciano & Vizniak, 2018, p. 272)
Passionflower is cooling to the body, and it is good for the mind as it calms it down, it helps with anxiety, and people that have too much energy and need to calm down. It is also soothing to the spirit. This plant is gentle yet has strong effects. It can be administered as a soothing tea for children or the elderly and can help to calm a restless mind (Mountain rose).
No known contraindication according to the Amercian Botanical Council (2013). However, some components of passionflower can be a uterine stimulant and this should be taken into consideration when thinking about dosing or gestation.
Orally, there are many ways to use passionflower:
Tea: The typical dose is 0.25 to two grams of dried herb steeped in 150 ml of boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
Fluid extract: 0.5-1 ml, three times a day (1:1 in 25% alcohol)
Tincture: 0.5-2 ml, three times a day (1:8 in 45% alcohol)
For generalized anxiety disorder, 45 drops of passionflower liquid extract taken daily or a specific tablet formulation of 90 mg per day has been used effectively.
For topical use as a hemorrhoid rinse, 20 grams of dried above ground parts of the herb simmered in 200 ml water, strained and cooled before application (Weil ).
St. John’s Wort
Fun fact: passionflower is also known to work well alongside cannabis, indica strain, as it helps each other to lean towards relaxation.
American Botanical Council. (2000). Fenugreek seed. Accessed online at .
Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. London, England: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)