Passionflower: An Herb for the Underslept
Passionflower is an herb for the underslept. Its sedative action calms the tension that repetitive thoughts and obsessive thinking can instill in us. Our Sleepy Smokes blend is enhanced with passionflower, because just as smoke dissipates into thin air will a clear mind drift off to dreamworld.
LATIN NAME: Passiflora incarnata
AFFINITY WHEN SMOKED: nervous system
KEY ACTIONS: nervine, sedative, hypnotic, antispasmodic, anodyne, diaphoretic
NOTABLE CONSTITUENTS: apigenin, flavonoids, coumarins (scopoletin, umbelliferone), harmala alkaloids (harmaline, harmine, harmane, harmalol, harmol), passiflorine, luteolin, orientin, passicol, gynocardin, quercetin, rutin
BOTANY & HARVESTING: Passionflower is a climbing vine growing up to 28ft (9m), with three-lobed leaves, large and ornate flowers, and egg-shaped fruits. Native to the south United States, Central America, and South America, passionflower is now extensively cultivated in North America and in Europe. The aerial parts are harvested most commonly when the plant is in flower.
APPLICATIONS: Passionflower is widely used as a gentle yet effective remedy for relieving insomnia, sleeplessness, and disturbed sleep with no next-day hangover. Its sedative action is suited to quieting repetitive, circular, and obsessive thoughts that often keep us up at night, and the herb will have a more noticeable hypnotic (sleep-inducing) effect for the underslept. Passionflower is an especially helpful herbal ally during the holiday season, or anytime we find ourselves worrying and feeling overwhelmed over our to-do list. Although passionflower's effects bring such nighttime relief, this tonic nervine can also be worked with throughout the day for anxiety and nervousness. Passionflower is also a relaxing diaphoretic, allowing the heat of both fevers and agitation to be released.
PREPARATIONS: Passionflower is especially effective when combined with skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora). This combo is often referred to by herbalists as "S & P" because they so naturally go together like salt and pepper. These plants have an almost immediate influence when smoked, making them great allies to have on hand for stressful day smoke breaks and nightcap sessions. "Pulse dosing" is recommended for sleep formulas: take a puff an hour before bed, a puff twenty minutes later, another puff twenty minutes later, and another puff before getting into bed.
CAUTION: Passionflower is contraindicated in people taking beta-blockers.
Hoffmann, D. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. 2003.
Chevallier, A. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. 1996.
CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism - Materia Medica course
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.