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Passionflower is a climbing vine native to South Texas, Mexico, and Central America. Growing to a length of 30 feet (9 meters) under ideal conditions, the vine bears three-lobed leaves, purple flowers, and yellow-to-orange egg-shaped fruit. The name of the plant comes an analogy between the plant’s ornate flower to the elements of the crucifixion of Jesus, white and purple to symbolize heaven and purity, five stamens for the five wounds he suffered, three style for the three nails used to affix him to the cross. A Spanish doctor named Nicolas Monardes was the first to document the flower used in Peru in 1569, which he then brought back to Europe with him, where its popularity spread quite rapidly as a sedative. It was later classified by Linnaeus in 1745, when he noted over 20 species. Nowadays, there are reputably over 400 different species.
- Herbalists in Mexico, Central America, and Texas have used passionflower as a calmative and sleeping aid for over 200 years. Currently there is a German E monograph for passionflower citing its use as having sedative qualities.
- Pregnant women should avoid passionflower, since it can stimulate uterine contractions. Safe dosages for children under 6 have not been established. Caution should be used buy those on other sedatives as passionflower may intensify the effects. 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.