Passion Flower

By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Passiflora incarnata-Passion Flower

Family: Passifloraceae

Other names: Passion Vine, Granadilla, Maracoc, Maypops, Purple Passion Flower, Grandilla,

Habitat: Eastern N. America – Virginia and Kentucky, south to Florida and Texas. Sandy thickets and open soils. Fields, roadsides, fence rows and thicket.

hazardsmallSedation. Hypersensitivity reactions noted. Can potentiate the action of central nervous system depressants like alcohol. Not recommended for use during pregnancy.

Passion Flower is a valuable sedative and tranquillising herb with a long history of use in North America. It is frequently used in the treatment of insomnia, epilepsy, hysteria etc. The leaves and stems are antispasmodic, astringent, diaphoretic, hypnotic, narcotic, sedative, vasodilator and are also used in the treatment of women’s complaints.  It is used in the treatment of insomnia, nervous tension, irritability, neuralgia, irritable bowel syndrome, pre-menstrual tension and vaginal discharges. An extract of the plant depresses the motor nerves of the spinal cord, it is also slightly sedative, slightly reduces blood pressure and increases respiratory rate. The plant contains alkaloids and flavonoids that are an effective non-addictive sedative that does not cause drowsiness. The plant is not recommended for use during pregnancy. A poultice of the roots is applied to boils, cuts, earaches, inflammation etc. The dried plant is exported from America to Europe for medicinal usage. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Passiflora incarnata for nervousness & insomnia.

By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Description of Passion Flower:

Passiflora incarnata,Passion Flower, is an evergreen Climber growing to 6 m (19ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. Needs full sun. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation of Passion Flower:

Passion Flower requires a well-drained soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season, otherwise it is not fussy. Another report says that it prefers a well-drained sandy slightly acid soil in full sun. In a well-drained soil the roots are hardy to about -20°c, although top growth is killed back by frost. The top growth is cut back almost to the ground each year by some people and the plant treated as a herbaceous perennial. The roots should be mulched in winter to prevent them from freezing. Plants thrive in a short growing season. A climbing plant, supporting itself by means of tendrils. Resistant to pests and diseases. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Cultivated for its edible fruit by the North American Indians. Plants yield from 5 to 20 fruits annually in the wild. Outdoor grown plants should have their roots restricted in order to encourage fruit production instead of excessive vegetative growth. Hand pollinate using pollen from a flower that has been open for 12 hours to pollinate a newly opened flower before midday.

By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Propagation of Passion Flower:

Pre-soak the Passion Flower seeds for 12 hours in warm water and then sow late winter or early spring in a warm greenhouse. If sown in January and grown on fast it can flower and fruit in its first year. The seed germinates in 1 – 12 months at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. It you are intending to grow the plants outdoors, it is probably best to keep them in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Mulch the roots well in late autumn to protect them from the cold. Cuttings of young shoots, 15cm with a heel, in spring. Leaf bud cuttings in spring. Cuttings of fully mature wood in early summer. Takes 3 months. High percentage take.

Collection: The plant is harvested after some of the berries have matured and is then dried for later use.

Culinary uses of Passion Flower:

Edible Parts: Flowers,  Fruit,  Leaves.
Edible Uses: 

Passion Flower Fruit – raw or cooked in jellies, jams etc. A sweet flavour, it is best when used as a jelly. High in niacin. Fairly large, the fruit is up to 5cm in diameter though it contains relatively little edible pulp and a lot of seeds. Leaves – raw or cooked. Said to be delicious as a cooked vegetable or when eaten in salads. Flowers – cooked as a vegetable or made into syrup.

passion_flower_botanical,passiflora_incarnataMedicinal uses of Passion Flower:

Actions: Nervine, hypnotic, anti-spasmodic, anodyne, hypotensive.

Part Used: Leaves and whole plant.

IndicationsPassiflora;Passion Flower, has a depressant effect on C.N.S.activity and is hypotensive; these abilities are used for their sedative and soothing properties, to lower blood pressure, prevent tachycardia and for insomnia. The alkaloids and flavonoids have both been reported to have sedative activity in animals. Many of the flavonoids, such as apigenin, are well-known for pharmacological activity, particularly anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory activities. It is the herb of choice for treating intransigent insomnia.It aids the transition into a restful sleep without any ‘narcotic’ hangover.It may be used wherever an anti-spasmodic is required, e.g. in Parkinson’sdisease, seizures and hysteria. It can be very effective in nerve pain such as neuralgia and the viral infection of nerves called shingles.It may be used in asthma where there is much spasmodic activity,especially when there is associated tension.

Ellingwood considered it specific for “wakefulness, disturbed sleep from mental worry, and exhaustion from cerebral fulness and from excitement,especially with feebleness. Anemic patients are relieved by it, also the wakefulness of infants and the aged. It is not usually efficient if the wakefulness is caused by pain, nor when the patient is in full strength.Nervous excitement, and irritation with muscular twitchings, evidences of approaching convulsions in childhood, with marked cerebral fulness are indications, and it is given at any time preceding or during convulsive paroxysms if it can be swallowed. It is indicated in convulsions of any character.” In addition he recommends it for the following conditions:convulsions of childhood, severe spasmsepilepsy,chorea,tetanushysteria, persistent hiccough, sleeplessness of tuberculosis.

Preparations & Dosage:

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb and let infuse for 15 minutes. Drink a cup in the evening for sleeplessness, and a cup twice a day for the easing of other conditions.

Tincture: take 1-4 ml of the tincture and use the same way as the infusion.

Other uses of Passion Flower:

None known

Esoteric uses of Passion Flower:

Magickal uses include attracting friendship and prosperity and heightening libido. Carried to bring great popularity & attract new friends. Placed in house to calm trouble & arguments and bring peace. Used as a wash to diminish disagreements & stress. Placed beneath pillow to promote sleep. Bathe in an infusion of passion flower for 5 days to attract the opposite sex.

The Chemistry:


  • Alkaloids; harmine, harman, harmol, harmaline, harmalol, and passaflorine.
  • Flavonoids; apigenin and various glycosides, homoorientin, isovitexin,kaempferol, luteolin, orientin, quercitin, rutin, saponaretin, saponarin andvitexen.