About the plant
The passion flower belongs to the passion flower family, the Passifloracea. Originally native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, Asia and Australia, it now has more than 530 species worldwide and can be found in all tropical and subtropical regions. [1, 5, 15, 23, 24]
It is an evergreen, perennial, woody, bush-forming climber whose fruit belongs to the berries. Its diversity of species includes a differentiated appearance, adaptation to different climatic and geological conditions, as well as a different expression of constituents and their quantities. [5, 15, 24]
Because the structure of the flower symbolically recalls the Passion of Christ, it was used by missionaries to convert indigenous Indians. He also coined the name of the plant. Passio from Latin means suffering, flos the flower and incarnata the incarnate. Maracuja is from Portuguese, borrowed from the indigenous South American Tupi language, and means mara the food and cuja the vessel. [5, 7, 10, 23, 24]
Officially recorded as a medicinal plant in 1569 by Nicolás Bautista Monardes 1439-1588, a Spanish physician and botanist, the passion flower first reached Europe around 1600 as an ornamental plant. In 1840 it was introduced into medical practice in America, listed in the German Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia in 1901, and from 1950 it has received official phytotherapeutic attention. [5, 10, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24]
Ingredients and Uses
Today, looking back on now more than 100 years of research on Passiflora incarnata, the potentials of passionflower, at least in mouse experiments or in vitro, are known, among other things, as neuronal sedative. The potentials of passionflower have been investigated, at least in mouse experiments or in vitro, as neuronal sedative, aphrodisiac and improving the function of the sexual organs, as well as its antianxiety, analgesic, addictive and antispasmodic effects. However, its constituents have not yet been fully identified, nor are the internal synergists within the individual parts of the plant fully known. In addition, the amounts of constituents also vary within a plant species, which is why the treatment of complaints is largely based on knowledge and practical experience from traditional herbal medicine. [1, 2, 16, 24]
The passion flower is known for its fruit, the passion fruit, whereby the violet-brown fruit of Passiflora edulis is v. The violet-brown fruit of Passiflora edulis is mainly used for consumption and the larger yellow fruit of Passiflora flavicarpa is mainly used for the juice and the typical aroma.[3, 24]
The juice of Passiflora edulis contains various sugars (sucrose, glucose, fructose), organic acids (citric and malic acid) with ø 30-50mg/ 100ml, is rich in vitamin A with ø 700 I.U. and vitamin C with ø 30-50mg/100ml. In South America, the freshly squeezed juice is given to hyperactive children to calm them down and traditionally as a tonic for the heart. [3, 8, 15, 16, 24, 43]
Responsible for the calming effect of the juice could be the content of niacin 1.5 mg/100ml (edulis), beta-carotene 1.106% (edulis) or. 0.058% (flavicarpa), riboflavin 0.13mg/100ml (edulis), and the low content of alkaloids with ø 0.012% (edulis) and 0.7% (flavicarpa).
Other traditional uses include inflammatory diseases, e.g. of the respiratory tract such as asthma, severe cough or infections of the urinary organs. In Madeira, the juice is also used as a digestive and for the treatment of stomach cancer. [8, 15]
The amino acids contained in the fruit juice (arginine, aspartic acid, glycine, leucine, lysine, proline, threonine, tyrosine, valine) have, among other things. Among other things, they have an immunomodulating, roberating, vasculogenic, cholesterol-balancing and antihypertensive effect and thus a positive influence on the biosynthesis of various hormones and their precursors. [8, 23.1, 38]
The seeds of the passion fruit contain 8.9% saturated and 84% unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid 19%, palmitic acid 6.78% and the essential linoleic acid with 59.9%. Linoleic acid is a doubly unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, which is beneficial for the skin and its appearance, among other things. The oil of the seeds is mainly used for cosmetic purposes. [3, 8, 35]
The leaves folia passiflorae and herbage herba passiflorae of the Passiflora incarnata, rarely also of the Passiflora edulis are used in phytotherapy as a dried drug (tea/infusion, capsule) or as an alcoholic extract (tincture/extract). [8,15]
Typical for the passion flower are the alkaloids from the Harman group such as Harman, Harmin, Harmaline and Harmalol. They are also called passiflorin in the literature. The dried parts of the herb of Passiflora incarnata have a comparatively very low content of 0.02 -0.1% of harman alkaloids, which is said to have antispasmodic, analgesic and sedative effects, among others, and may be partly responsible for lowering high blood pressure. [15, 17]
The effect of the harman alkaloids in passionflower is comparable to that of benzodiazepines (diazepam). However, as they do not cause addiction, passionflower is considered for withdrawal or treatment of addiction and withdrawal symptoms from morphines, nicotine and alcohol. Its use for hypertension, depression, insomnia, epilepsy and anxiety may be based on the same association. [2, 6, 11, 15]
In addition to the flavonoids apigenin, vitexin and luteolin, which, among other things. anti-inflammatory properties and have a positive effect on high blood pressure, headaches and cramps as well as being an aphrodisiac and expectorant, the flavonoid aglycone chrysin 5,7-dihydroflavone, which is typical of passionflower, is also present. [2, 11, 18]
Chrysine has the properties of a phytohormone because it acts on aromatase. Aromatase is the enzyme CYP 19A1, which catalyses the biosynthesis of estrogen (oestrogen) in the human organism. If the enzyme aromatase is inhibited in its action, the androgens remain and the production of the estrogens is restricted to the gonads. The plant ingredient chrysin thus supports the body in being able to use androgens effectively, because it inhibits their conversion to estrogen.
In connection with the climacterium virile, the menopause but also with some other symptoms that are associated with a dysbalance of the sex hormones or with estrogen excess or dependence, chrysin can be useful as a therapeutic agent. As chrysin also appears to have an effect on the enzyme COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2 / prostaglandin synthase-2), it may have potential for the treatment of endometriosis. [4.1, 4.2, 14.1-14.8, 18, 27]
Another special property of chrysin is its calming, antispasmodic and antianxiety effect, which is why, like the haraman alkaloids, it is thought to reduce nervous restlessness, tension, difficulty falling asleep and stress, and to be able to support the treatment of addiction or withdrawal problems. [2, 14.9, 15, 19]
Furthermore, chrysin is apparently free of side effects, oneirogenic, anticarcinogenic, chemoprotective, immunoregulatory, cardioprotective, it maintains and protects the blood vessels e.g. in arterisclerosis and counteracts physiological and biochemical ageing processes. If one is to believe allusions from studies and traditional lore. [2, 4.1, 4.2, 12, 14, 14.3, 14. 9, 20, 21, 24, 25]
- The data and information collected in this text have been researched to the best of our knowledge and belief, but are not suitable to be used as a basis for diagnoses and therapies.
 Jesuit Ferrari, 1633 in "De florum cultura": three stigmas = nails, thread crown = crown of thorns, stalked ovary = calyx, five anthers = stigmata, leaves = lance, tendrils = scourges, white colour = innocence of the Redeemer [5, 7]