Latin names: Passiflora caerulea, Passiflora incarnata (Passifloraceae [passionflower] family)
Other common names: apricot vine, blue passionflower (passiflora caerulea), maypop
Passionflower is a climbing vine native to North, Central, and South America. Growing to a length of up to thirty feet (ten meters), passionflower bears three-lobed leaves, purple flowers, and egg-shaped fruit. Passionflowers name comes from an analogy drawn between the appearance of the plants ornate flowers to elements of the crucifixion of Jesus: three styles for the three nails used to affix him to the cross; five stamens for the five wounds he suffered; and white and purple-blue colors believed to symbolize heaven and purity.
EVIDENCE OF BENEFIT
The use of passionflower to tranquilize and settle edgy nerves has been documented for over 2000 years. This herb relieves muscle tension and helps calm extreme anxiety. It has a depressant effect on the central nervous system and lowers blood pressure. Passionflower is especially good for nervous insomnia. It is also a source of an antioxidant chemical known as chrysin, which helps the body conserve testosterone. It does not cause the body to produce more testosterone, but, by conserving the testosterone already in the body, it can have the effect of increasing testosterone levels.
(Source: Prescription for Herbal Healing, Copyright 2002, Phyllis A. Balch.)