Passion Flower

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Passion Flower

Botanical Name: Passiflora incarnata (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Passifloraceae

Synonyms: Passion Vine. Granadilla. Maracoc. Maypops.
Part Used: The dried herb, collected after some of the berries have matured.
Habitat: Virginia.

Description: The Passion Flowers are so named from the supposed resemblance of the finely-cut corona in the centre of the blossoms to the Crown of Thorns and of the other parts of the flower to the instruments of the Passion of Our Lord. Passiflora incarnata has a perennial root, and the herbaceous shoots bear three-lobed, finelyserrated leaves and flesh-coloured or yellowish, sweet-scented flowers, tinged with purple. The ripe, orange-coloured, ovoid, many-seeded berry is about the size of a small apple; when dried, it is shrivelled and greenish-yellow. The yellow pulp is sweet and edible.

Constituents: There appears to be no detailed analysis of this species, but its active principle, which has been called Passiflorine, would appear to be somewhat similar to morphine.

Medicinal Action and Uses: The drug is known to be a depressant to the motor side of the spinal cord, slightly reducing arterial pressure, though affecting circulation but little, while increasing the rate of respiration. It is official in homoeopathic medicine and used with bromides, it is said to be of great service in epilepsy. Its narcotic properties cause it to be used in diarrhoea and dysentery, neuralgia, sleeplessness and dysmenorrhoea.

Dosages: 3 to 10 grains. Of Fluid extract, 10 to 20 minims.

Other Species:
Many species yield edible fruits or are cultivated for their beauty and fragrance.

P. caerulea, the familiar Blue Passion Flower, hardy in southern districts of this country as a wall-climber, was introduced into England from Brazil in 1699.

P. quadrangularis, the Common Granadilla, a native of Jamaica and South America grown for its large edible fruit, the purple, succulent pulp of which is eaten with wine and sugar, has a root said to be very poisonous and a powerful narcotic; in small doses it is anthelmintic. It is used in Mauritius as a diuretic and emetic.

The fruit of P. edulis in colour and flavour resembles that of the orange, with a mixture of acid.

P. macrocarpa bears a gourd-like, oblong fruit, much larger than any of the other species, attaining a weight of 7 to 8 lb.

P. maliformis, the Apple-fruited Granadilla, the Sweet Calabash of the West Indies, has a fruit 2 inches in diameter, full of a pleasant gelatinous pulp. The juice of the leaves, and also of those of P. pallida, is used by the Brazilians against intermittent fevers.

P. laurifolia, the Water Lemon of the West Indies, is much cultivated throughout South America for its fruit, the aromatic juice of which quenches thirst, allays heat and induces appetite. Its bitter and astringent leaves are employed as an anthelmintic.

The roots of P. contrayerva and P. normalis are reputed to have counter-poison properties.

P. foetida is used in hysteria, female complaints and as an expectorant, and the leaves as a poultice in skin inflammations.

The flowers of P. rubra yield a narcotic tincture.

P. capsularia is said to possess emmenagogue properties.