Passion Flower

Passiflora incarnata

The Passion flower is a sturdy, herbaceous rooted, woody-stemmed climbing perennial vine that grows in length to 10m (35ft). The three-lobed leaves are alternate, petiolate, and finely toothed. The yellow flowers are tinged with purple and a sweet fragrance. Each flower has five petals varying in colour from white to pale red. The ripe fruit is orange in colour and multi-seeded.

Family: Passifloraceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Passion flower is a key herb in Sleep

Habit and cultivation: Native to North America but now cultivated in many areas of the world. Needs support for its climbing vines and a sheltered, sunny position. Can be grown from seed or root cuttings. Survives tougher conditions due to the fact that it completely dies back in winter.

Actions (known for): Anodyne, hypnotic and sedative.


Roman Catholic priests of the late 1500s named it ‘Passion’, referencing the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Often used in Brazilian medicinal folklore and bought to Europe by the Spanish. Used during the First World War as a nervine sedative to treat shell-shock.

Parts used:

Above ground parts.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Alkaloids and flavonoids.

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamin A, C, riboflavin and carotene.


Anxiety, asthma, nervous tachycardia, neuralgia, premenstrual syndrome, insomnia and epilepsy.


Liquid extract (1:2): 20-40ml per week. Infusion of dried herb: 0.25-1g 3 x daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia


Cautions for therapeutic doses

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