Passionflower: What it is, Where to find it and Active Ingredients

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Each of the plants found in the world has particular characteristics, some being more unique than others. Let’s take passionflower as an example. It is a very different plant from the ones we are used to seeing, although it is not the only one with these properties.

In this article we will talk about passionflower. It is good to know what are its properties as well as the benefits and risks that exist when using it.

What is passionflower?

Among the characteristics that make passionflower unique is the speed with which it grows, being one of the fastest. In addition, it is a vine, which uses tendrils to climb other trees, or any element in its path, to keep moving forward. In normal conditions, it could reach 9 meters in length.

It also stands out for the shape of its leaves and flowers, which makes it a very different plant from the others. Its fruit is one of those with the most seeds, making its consumption limited to the preparation of drinks.

Where to find passionflower?

The origin of passionflower is attributed to Mexico and the United States, although Brazil also cultivates it nowadays. However, for many years it has been used in Peru, specifically in the area occupied by the Incas. Today it can be found in many parts of the world, either by its cultivation in the area or by its exportation.

Active ingredients of passionflower

The active principles of passionflower are highly appreciated. Thanks to them, a multitude of benefits are achieved. Alisa Voltermann, expert nutritionist, highlights what they are.

  • Flavonoids. These include luteol, vicenin and quercetol.
  • Alkaloids. The most outstanding of them is harmine.
  • Phytosterols. One of the most interesting is stigmasterol.
  • Coumarins. In this group, it is worth mentioning scopoletin.
  • Caffeic acid. When it is necessary to eliminate bacteria or any infection, it is an ideal element.
  • Passiflorin. It is one of the main characteristics of passionflower. It contributes to increase the anesthetic effect of the plant.

These are some of the characteristics of passionflower. Thanks to all these components it is possible to enjoy analgesic, sedative, anxiolytic, relaxing and antiseptic properties. By having this great variety in a single plant, it becomes a great ally for health.

Benefits of passionflower

Each of the properties of passionflower has its beneficial effect on the body. Nutritionist Elisa Morales points out the most interesting ones.

Counteracts insomnia

When the person manifests difficulty sleeping, it is possible to achieve adequate relaxation with the use of passionflower. However, as the aforementioned nutritionist points out, it only works successfully if it is not a chronic condition. In such cases, it is better to see a specialist and follow another treatment.

Relax the body

Relaxing may be necessary to successfully face a complicated or urgent task. It is normal for anxiety or stress to increase due to a problem. In these cases, passionflower fulfills the same relaxing function as chamomile, another of the most well-known plants in the world for its relaxing effect.

Helps control withdrawal

After drug treatments, some people are left with withdrawal symptoms, which can worsen over time. But if passionflower infusions are ingested regularly, it is possible to limit this negative effect. When done in combination with clonidine, the effect is even greater, reducing the discomfort in less time.

Protects the cardiovascular system

When you face episodes of stress, or there is a situation that alters the pulsations, it is necessary to consume passionflower. This plant helps to maintain at the right levels the speed of the heartbeat. In this way, the presence of tachycardia or similar conditions can be reduced.

Helps the respiratory system

When we are scared or nervous, it is normal to breathe faster than normal, but this can only affect the ability to obtain the necessary oxygen. Passionflower acts as a calming agent, helping to keep breathing in the correct rhythm. It also reduces related symptoms such as dyspnea caused by nervousness.

Risks and contraindications of passionflower

Passionflower in small amounts does not adversely affect health. In the worst case it could cause sleepiness. And that is why health experts recommend not to drive any type of vehicle after its consumption

However, when the amount ingested is very large, the side effects are not at all pleasant. Among these, the U.S. National Library of Medicine mentions the following.

  • Stomach problems. Heartburn is one of the main ones
  • Disorientation. In milder cases, it causes dizziness and general malaise. In more severe cases, it may affect the person’s ability to locate.
  • Pain. It occurs mostly in the head in the form of a migraine, although it may also affect the stomach and muscles.

For some people, due to specific circumstances, the use of passionflower in any presentation is contraindicated. These are the following groups.

  • Pregnant women. The size of the uterus could be reduced, affecting considerably the condition of the baby. In addition, the fetus may be intoxicated by its components.
  • Children. This applies from the moment the baby is born. Both during breastfeeding and childhood, the use of passionflower should be avoided. At least until they are more than 6 years old.
  • People who will undergo surgery. A surgical intervention can be compromised with the use of passionflower. It is necessary not to use it at least 15 days before the operation.
  • People who use some drugs. This applies to sedatives and anxiolytics. Passionflower is able to increase their effect, with the risk of altering the health of the person.

It is true that it has its risks, but if the available safety measures and recommendations are used, passionflower becomes an important health aid.

German Fuertes Otero
German Fuertes Otero
CEO at M.D. from Stanford Medicine: Stanford, California, US, M.Sc. from University of Cambridge: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK and University of Oxford: Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK. PhD at Harvard University Harvard Catalyst: Cambridge, MA, US.

Aunque pueda contener afirmaciones, datos o apuntes procedentes de instituciones o profesionales sanitarios y la información contenida en PharmaSalud esté redactada por profesionales en medicina, recomendamos al lector que cualquier duda relacionada con la salud sea consultada con un profesional del ámbito sanitario.

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