Passionflower: Natural Medicine for Body and Soul

a staple of herbalists worldwide and beloved by young and old
passionflower stress anxiety depression antioxidant
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / AntonioGravante

Be prepared to get passionate about passionflower! Passiflora incarnata (also known as maypop, apricot vine, molly-pop, and passion vine) is a quick-growing, perennial vine belonging to the Passifloraceae family and is one of over 400 species native to the tropical areas of the Americas. While prized for its uniquely beautiful flower, passionflower is also valued for its varied medicinal and healing properties. Traditionally used to treat everything from bruises and cuts to nervous restlessness and stomach upset, this safe and gentle herb can pretty much do it all!

Topical Tropical: Use as a rinse for burns, inflammation, and hemorrhoids. Just simmer 1 tbsp of dried passionflower in a half cup of water. Strain, cool, and add to bath water.

A natural medicine to treat anxiety

Often prescribed as a nervine tonic to treat stress, anxiety, insomnia, and nervous sleeplessness, passionflower helps to calm the central nervous system and reduce stress—quieting the mind, balancing mood, and creating an overall sense of calm. The presence of chrysin and benzoflavone in passionflower also helps to improve GABA production, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces excitatory activity in the brain and balances the inhibitory ones that lead to depression, making it also quite effective in alleviating depression related to menopause, along with those pesky hot flashes and night sweats.

Passionflower’s calming action can also act as an antispasmodic for the nervous system. Helping to relax muscle cells, including those in the heart, it acts as a mild vasodilator for the cardiovascular system, lowering stress- or anxiety-induced blood pressure.

Because of passionflower’s high flavonoid content (including vitexin, saponarin, rutin, and quercetin), it makes it a potent and powerful antioxidant. Quercetin, in particular, has been extensively studied and was found to be exceptionally effective at eliminating free radical molecules that accumulate in our systems and inhibiting enzymes that cause inflammation, which may help with reducing mild nerve pain and general pain relief.

Passionflower is excellent for anxious little ones who can’t seem to turn off racing thoughts, focus at school, or calm down for bed!

Dosing

Passionflower tea: For one cup, add 1 tsp of dried passionflower to a cup of boiling water. Let steep for 10–15 minutes. For children over one, start with 1–2 cups of tea daily; for adults, start with 2–3 cups daily for chronic conditions.

Passionflower tincture: Doses may vary, according to product, but typically 5–10 drops for children and 10–20 drops for adults, daily. Add to water or juice, if preferred.

Passionflower supplement: For adults, aim for 300–500 mg. For acute situations (like anxiety or stress), up the dose to 500 mg, three times a day, for the duration.

Because of its broad range of indications in the body, discuss treatment with your healthcare provider, especially if you are currently taking other medications (specifically those prescribed for depression, anxiety, or cardiovascular health). Avoid if you are pregnant, as passionflower may cause uterine contractions.

Whether you’re looking to ease digestive upset, eradicate insomnia, or are hoping to alleviate stress or anxiety, it’s time to give potent and powerful passionflower a place on your shelf!

You may also enjoy: 10 Healing Herbs You Can Grow Yourself5 Herbal Teas to Support Your Child’s Health, and The Benefits of Ashwagandha for Stress and Anxiety