Recently I have been experimenting making herbal tinctures.
So today, I want to introduce a beautiful herb which I have been using – Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) which is the purple Passionflower.
For me, it has done wondrous things to induce sleep and relaxation, it is also known to treat restlessness and agitation. There is Valerian and Hops which I also combine from time to time and they have all helped with very positive results.
Circular thinking and insomnia go hand in hand; lying in bed and going over conversations and replaying scenarios, events and situations, overthinking and over processing about something spoken that day, or simply going through the following day’s “things to do” list can all affect the quality of sleep.
Passionflower is known to be an anxiolytic; useful if there is nervous tension and anxiety. It contains gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) an inhibitory neurotransmitter which counters overstimulation and excitement. Studies show that it appears to boosts the level of GABA in the brain which in turn aids relaxation and helps induce sleep.
You can enjoy its benefits in a herbal tea which you can find in most health food stores. They are also available as infusions, liquid extracts and tinctures. I personally prefer a tincture. In general, Passionflower is considered safe and non toxic with side effects rarely reported.
However, always consult your doctor if you wish to try any alternative treatment to assess potential benefits and risks; such as contraindications especially if you are on medications or pregnant.
A little history – Passionflower is a perennial climbing vine native to South America. Spanish & Portuguese explores learned about them in the 16th century from the Peruvians. The naming of the Passionflower is almost in its entirety circumvented around the Catholic Tradition due to its resemblance to the crucifix.
The word “Passion” describes the final period of Jesus Christ’s life, including His crucifixion. The flower itself has some physical characteristics that supposedly symbolic of different aspects of the crucifixion.
Passionflower and Passion Week
- The 10 petals, denote the 10 faithful disciples, excluding Peter who denied Jesus & Judas the betrayer
- The radial filaments, to the crown of thorns
- The 3 stigmata to the cross and nails Jesus was nailed to as well as the Trinity
- Purple is the liturgical colour of Lent
- The 5 anthers symbolises the 5 sacred wounds of Christ.
- The wonderful fragrance to the incense and spices which were used for His burial.
- The duration of the flower’s life is 3 days, symbolising the time elapse for the resurrection of Christ.
What a marvellous symbolism for a plant known to relieve stress and anxiety, induce sleep and calm to those who take advantage of it. The healing properties imbued by the Creator of all good things for us.