Photos of Passiflora incarnata, Passionflower, Passion flower, Maypop, Purple Passionflower.

Passiflora incarnata, Passionflower, or Maypop. Passionflower is variously a wildflower, weed, ornamental perennial, delectable edible, and medicinal herb. The fruit, especially the sweet aril covering the seeds, "maypops", is edible. Passionflower was largely neglected until the mid-nineteenth century. It was introduced into medicine about 1840 by L. Phares of Mississippi and by 1898 was in use by American physicians. Harvey Wickes Felter and John Uri Lloyd wrote in 1898, “Its force is exerted chiefly upon the nervous system, the remedy finding a wide application in spasmodic disorders and as a rest-producing agent. It proves specially useful in the insomnia of infants and old people. It gives sleep to those who are laboring under the effects of mental worry or from mental overwork.” Formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid it was not recognized as effective by the US Food and Drug Administration in a 1978 review of nighttime sleep aids. The whole above ground plant and its preparations are considered a mild nerve sedative and sleep aid. When tension, restlessness and irritability result in difficulty in falling asleep, passionflower is an herbal remedy of choice.

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