Posted by Nicole on November 4, 2013
Many people are familiar with the light, sweet flavor of passion fruit; few are aware that this popular fruit comes from the passiflora, or passion flower, a plant rich in medicinal value and health benefits. The passion flower, with its vibrant purple petals and tentacles surrounding a bright yellow center, was discovered in the middle of the 16th century by Spanish explorers during an expedition to South America. Interpreting the flower’s striking appearance as a representation of the passion of Jesus Christ, the explorers named the plant “passion flower”, and the name has been used ever since. The unique passion flower looks like the kind of plant that could only grow in the most exotic regions. However, species of this hardy and adaptive plant thrives in an astonishing variety of climates, from the Midwestern United States to southern Asia and Australia.
Naturally Reduce Stress with Passion Flower
Dozens of unique species of passion flower exist. While each species has its own individual chemical composition, a few species have been widely recognized as more useful in treating an array of ailments. One species in particular, the Maypop, has been used medicinally for centuries. Early Native Americans relied on the Maypop as a treatment for insomnia and anxiety. It was also used as a sedative and pain reliever by the Aztecs. These early civilizations dried and crushed the leaves, stems, and flowers of the Maypop to create teas and topical applications for medicinal purposes. Since its discovery, passion flower has been used to treat many other conditions, like high blood pressure, epilepsy and nervous system disorders, and more.
Modern scientific research has isolated specific compounds in the Maypop, as well as many other species, that suggest even further medicinal use for passion flower. Specific alkaloids that act as natural MAO inhibitors to alter serotonin levels in the brain; these substances make passion flower a viable therapy for depression and anxiety disorders. In fact, several studies have found the Maypop variety of passion flower to be as effective as synthetic anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, without many of the side effects. Perhaps most notably, passion flower has not been shown to be addictive; this distinction is a huge advantage for those who are concerned about the addictive nature of so many pharmaceutical options on the market. Although passion flower is generally considered safe in moderate amounts (which can be up to four cups of passion flower tea per day), overexposure can lead to some unpleasant side effects: most commonly fatigue and mental sluggishness.
Naturally Relieve Insomnia with Passion Flower
Passion flower is still widely popular, centuries after it was first discovered, because it is effective. It offers natural relief from a number of chronic conditions and ailments, without the more severe side effects of prescription drugs. For those who prefer homeopathic remedies and opt for a more holistic lifestyle, passion flower may be the ideal solution; it is a natural therapy for a number of persistent conditions that can compromise your quality of life. Passion flower can boost your mood and reduce your anxiety and stress.