Materia Medica

Latin Binomial: Passiflora edulis & Passiflora incarnata

Family: Passifloraceae 

Common Names: Lilikoi, Passionfruit, Maypop




Passiflora edulis is native to southern Brazil, Paraguay to northern Argentina with traditional use as anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, sedative, antioxidant, antispasmodic, and neuroprotective. There are over 500 different species with lots of hybrids. Passiflora incarnata is the most desired for therapeutic use while Passiflora edulis bears the typical “passion fruit”. The proper species level identification of passiflora is therefore quite complex as many visual indicators are associated with nondominant gene expression and cannot be used with certainty along with variation from frequent hybridization.



This perennial vine grows to about 20 feet long with white to purple flowers up to 3.5 inches across, light green center, long, white, curly filaments, and 10 white tepals. The fruit is round to egg-shaped up to 3.5 inches in diameter yellow or purple with soft, loose, juicy, yellow to orange pulp surrounding black seeds. The stems have coiling tendrils and have thin light green tips and a woody base. The vine grows quickly and can smother trees and shrubs. Passiflora prefers sunny, low to middle elevation mesic forests and shrub lands.


Diseased used for: 







Preparations and how to use:

Ones we make – passion vine ethanol extract, pure passionflower ethanol extract

Other ones – fresh or dried flowers can be used to make tea

Formulations – One of the main constituents in our “Sleep Please” formula

Practitioner dosing from Dr. Michael Traub in Passionflower: An overview of the research and clinical indications:

Dried herb: 2 g, three to four times daily

Infusion: 2 g in 150 ml water, three to four times daily

Fluid extract 1:1 (g/ml): 2 ml, three to four times daily

Tincture 1:5 (g/ml): 10 ml, three to four times daily


Safety: (Contradictions/Cautions from Pharmacological Reviews)

Passionflower extract is classified as “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA. There is one case report of a mild allergic reaction in a pharmacy technician preparing P. alata and one report of mild adverse effects of drowsiness and confusion. Otherwise, there are no confirmed reports of adverse effects of toxicity, interactions, and contraindications.



The name passion flower refers to the passion of Christ, Spanish missionaries in Peru saw the flower as a symbol of the crucifixion. The blue and white colors of the flower were thought to stand for heaven and purity, the radial filaments symbolized the crown of thorns, and the tendrils represented roman whips.