Herbal Remedies Information - Passionflower

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Herbal Remedies Information - Passionflower
By: Mercedes Aspland

This article is part of a series giving information about herbs and their medicinal properties. We are going to look at passionflower in this article. You will find out what this herb is, how you can use it and the conditions that could be helped by passionflower.

What is Passionflower?

Passionflower is a creeping perennial vine that is native to the southeast of USA, India, West Indies and South America and can grow to a height of around 9m or 30ft. Other names that are commonly used for passionflower include maypop, granadilla, passion vine, and apricot vine. It is usually found growing in sandy thickets and open fields, roadsides and waste places. The plant has orange berries and the flowers are white with a slight purple tinge to them. The plant was first used by the Native Americans and is also part of folklore in both Europe and North America.

How to use Passionflower

Passionflower is usually found used with other herb but can also be used on its own. It is best to buy a remedy from a health food store and follow the directions on the packet for the most effective use. You will find that you can buy passionflower in liquid form as well as in tablets. You can however also make a tea at home by following the recipe given here. Put about 1 teaspoonful of the herb in 150ml of water and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for around 10 minutes and then strain. Only drink 2 or 3 cups a day during the day and 30 before going to bed.

Uses of Passionflower

The main use of passionflower is to help relieve anxiety and restlessness and also to help with insomnia. It is also thought to help with nausea that is caused by anxiety of other similar conditions. It is an effective sedative and so is very helpful for getting sleep so much so that it has been endorsed by a number of European research organisations. Passionflower is often used in combination with a number of other herbs for example in the UK it is contained in a number of over the counter sedative products. In addition in teas you often find it used with both valerian root and lemon balm.

In its history passionflower has been used to treat a number of conditions including epilepsy, diarrhoea, neuralgia, asthma, whooping cough, seizures, painful menstruation, and haemorrhoids. In addition some herbalists recommend passionflower as a treatment for Parkinsonís disease. It is worth saying that there is no evidence that it is helpful with these other conditions.

Side Effects and Precautions

Passionflower is a relatively safe herb however it does contain some alkaloids that in large doses can stimulate the uterus so care should be taken. In addition sleeping aids should not be taken for longer than 2 weeks and so if you are having problems sleeping you should seek medical advice to find out if there is an underlying problem causing the condition. There is little medical knowledge of passionflower and so it should not be given to children, women who are pregnant or breast feeding or people with liver or kidney disease. Having said that there are no know side effects to the herb.

Passionflower may interact with other medications. In particular it can increase the effects of antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors that are used to treat depression, panic attacks and eating disorders. Passionflower may also increase the effects of other the counter and prescription sedatives.

This article has been supplied by alternative therapies directory. You can also find more information on our Herbal Medicine page.

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