By Karen Appold
Passionflower, also known as Passiflora incarnate, is a flowering plant with medicinal value. Its bright-colored leaves and blossoms contain the majority of its biochemically active compounds, such as flavonoids and alkaloids. Chemicals found in passionflower can help you fall asleep, calm you, and relieve muscle spasms.
People usually consume passionflower as an herbal tea, although you can also find it in the forms of extracts and capsules as a nutritional supplement. Some research suggests that passionflower can help with the following conditions.
Insomnia. Preliminary research suggests that drinking a cup of passionflower tea or extracts one hour before going to bed may help you sleep better if you have minor sleep issues.
Drug Withdrawal. Passiflora can help to ease restlessness and anxiety when someone cuts back on alcohol or certain narcotic medications, such as those that contain opiates. It’s used in conjunction with a drug called clonidine to achieve this. One study found that passionflower extract was effective as treating withdrawal symptoms as taking clonidine.
Easing Anxiety. As a mild sedative, passionflower can help calm someone with nervousness, restlessness, anxiety, hysteria, agitation, and delirium. Some evidence suggests that it can relieve anxiety just as well as some prescription medications.
Passiflora also seems to help with a host of other medical conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular neuroses, which is when you sweat or have palpitations due to stress and anxiety as a result of worrying about your health.
- High blood pressure, especially when you have anxiety and feel agitated.
- Respiratory conditions, such as bronchial asthma, whooping cough, or dry coughing.
In addition, some experts believe passiflora:
- provides an anti-spasmodic effect when you have a nervous stomach or stomach discomfort.
- has anti-inflammatory properties used to fight bacterial infections, such as Epstein Barr Virus.
- strengthens nerves and relieves nerve pain, including headaches and pain in general.
- can be used for seizures, asthma, fibromyalgia, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.
- is good for certain skin ailments, such as treating burns, inflammation due to hemorrhoids, and bruises.
Karen Appold is a medical writer in Lehigh Valley, PA.