Passion Flower (Ji Qing Hua)
Botanical Name: Passiflora incarnata, P. serratodigitata
Passion flower (also written passionflower) is used today as a dietary supplement to aid sleep and reduce anxiety. It helps to reduce pain, ease spasms, and calm restlessness. It is used to treat menstrual cramps, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and externally to soothe burns and hemorrhoids.
Below is an overview of Passion Flower (Ji Qing Hua), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Passion Flower (Ji Qing Hua).
Western Name: Passion Flower
Also Known As: Passionflower, Maypop, Purple Passion Flower, Apricot Vine, Maracuja, Water Lemon
Organs/Systems: Nervous System Skin, Wounds
Key Actions: Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, Antioxidant, Hypotensive, Antidepressant, Nervine, Analgesic
Medicinal Uses: Insomnia, anxiety, ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), fibromyalgia, hemorrhoids, burns, inflammation, opioid withdrawal symptoms, heart failure, earache, stomach ulcers, boils, wounds, liver problems, high blood pressure, menopausal symptoms, and symptoms or ailments made worse by anxiety, including asthma, headaches, and depression.
Pin Yin: Ji Qing Hua
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Heart, Liver, Lung
Key Actions: Anchors Yang, Dispels Wind, Clears Heat, Calms Shen, Relieves Cough
Medicinal Uses: Palpitations, high blood pressure, migraine, bitter taste in the mouth, insomnia, restlessness, tachycardia, agitated depression, hot flashes, tremblings, spasms, pain, whooping cough, asthma, ruminating or excessive thinking.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Stems, Leaves, Flowers, Fruit
Flavors/Temps: Above Ground Parts: Slightly Bitter, Drying, Cooling. Fruit: Sour, Sweet, Cooling
Caution: Generally considered safe when taken in recommended does. Some people may experience dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea.
History/Folklore: Passion flower is most associated with treating insomnia and anxiety. Studies suggest that the plant appears to boost the level of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. This compound is known for its ability to slow or lower brain activity that may help induce sleep and reduce anxiety. It is gentle enough to calm children or the elderly. The German Commission E has approved the use of passion flower to treat nervous restlessness and exhaustion.
Native Americans have used passion flower as a sedative as well as to treat a variety ailments including wounds, earache, and liver problems. Seeds that were thousands of years old were found in the state of Virginia where the North American Algonkian Indians lived. Early European settlers noted them eating the fruit and began to make use of the healing powers of this plant. Other American Indian tribes used the plant’s roots as a poultice to help heal wounds or as a blood tonic. The Cherokee traditionally boiled and fried the young shoots, mixing them with other edible greens.
A study reported in the Journal of Anesthesia and Analgesia examined the plant’s effect on patients preparing for surgery and found that people who consumed the herb prior to surgery reported less anxiety than those who received a placebo.
Research indicates that the effectiveness of the drug clonidine in treating high blood pressure and anxiety disorders is improved when it is combined with passion flower. The study also indicated that the combination worked better for reducing the symptoms of opiate drug withdrawal, including anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and agitation.
The species P. serratodigitata is being studied for its potential to treat stomach ulcers.
For treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), 45 drops of extract taken daily can be effective for helping to reduce symptoms.
Energetically, passion flower is a downward moving and cooling herb. From the perspective of Oriental medicine, it is a Yang draining or anchoring herb, helping to pull upward rising Yang back down out of the head as well as relieve excess Fire and Heat symptoms associated with Liver Yang Rising or Liver Yang Flaring.
The plant’s anxiety-reducing properties include helping conditions aggravated by anxiety such as asthma, hypertension, or nervous upset stomachs. Some research indicates that extract of passion flower is comparable to the widely prescribed pharmaceutical anti-anxiety agent, oxazepam, which is used to treat the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in some patients.
Spanish explorers learned of the plant from native Peruvians. The plant’s name derives from a reference to the Christian tradition known as the Passion, the name by which the final period in Jesus Christ’s life, which included his crucifixion, became known as. Spanish priests who were first introduced to the plant saw the flower as a physical representation of the crucifixion of Christ. The plant’s three stigma symbolized the nails of the crucifixion, the coronal filaments the crown of thorns, the five stamens the wounds, and the ten sepals the ten disciples (with Judas and Peter being left out due to their turning against Jesus in his final hours). In this way the flower became an important teaching aid for telling the story of Christ to the indigenous peoples.
Passion flower was formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative in the U.S. This approval was later withdrawn, however, as it was deemed that insufficient studies had been completed for approval to be properly given.
Passion flower has been used in charms and potions to attract friendship and bring peace. The leaves can be placed in a house to reduce discord and bring harmony.
Certain species such as P. edulis and P. caerulea are grown for their edible fruit. The fruit is also used as a flavoring for certain beverages.
Want Passion Flower (Ji Qing Hua)?
Here are some options…
Alkaloids (including Harmaline, Harmine, Harman, Harmalol), Bioflavonoids (Including Quercetin, Rutin, Apigenin, Kaempferol, Vitexin, Orientin), Chrysin, Sterols.
Passion flower tea taken an hour before bedtime is commonly used to improve sleep quality. Typical dose is 0.25 to 2 g of dried herb steeped in a cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool, strain, and enjoy. Nitey nite!
500 to 700 and Up To 60
There are considered to be anywhere from 500 to 700 different species in the Passifloraceae family, and up to 60 of them are used for food.
Take a Break
If using passion flower on its own on a daily basis, take a few days’ break from the herb every 10 to 12 days to help prevent a build-up of possible toxicity.
References: For a complete list of references please visit our References and Resources page.
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