Herbs for Health – Passiflora incarnata

Often confused with the granadilla, Passiflora incarnata, Passion flower is of the same family, but has an altogether different action. This native of Virginia, Texas and Tennessee in the USA, Central and South America has soft egg-shaped, greenish, yellow fruit as it ripens, containing red pulp and lots of seeds but hardly any flavor.

This herb was used as a valuable sedative and tranquillizer by the Algonquin people of North America, as well as in Mexico, for anxiety. The Houma tribe added it to water as a tonic, and was described by an European doctor in 1783 as a remedy for epilepsy. Passion flower has been fairly well researched.
The aerial parts are gathered when the plant is flowering or in fruit to use: as a sedative or nervine to combat extreme nervousness and anxiety, to tranquilize and to induce sleep; as an anodyne, antispasmodic and antispasmodic to treat muscle cramps; it has a marked effect against inflammations, especially haemorrhoids; in Brazil they have a favourite passion flower drink called ‘Maracuja grande’ that is used frequently to treat asthma, whooping cough, bronchitis and other tough coughs; in Poland it is used to treat hysteria; its gentle sedative properties produce a soothing and relaxing effect, reducing nervous over-activity and panic, and making it a mild and non-addictive herbal tranquillizer, ideal for insomnia; passion flower has valuable painkilling properties and is given for toothache, period pain and headaches.

Preparations:
Sleeplessness – Take as a tea or tincture 1 hour before bedtime. Or take tablets as directed.

Contra Indications and Special Precautions: No toxicity but can cause drowsiness – do not take in pregnancy or if nursing. Isolated reactions have caused tachycardia (fast heart beat – palpitations). It is wise to use the whole plant to avoid isolated alkaloids, which could be hallucinogenic.
Possible Drug Interactions: None known at this time.

Yours in herbs,
Diane Aldworth
0828081519; dragonair@lantic.net

Herbs for Health ed143 aug14