The exquisitely beautiful Passion Flower, Purple Granadilla or Passiflora edulis – is a remarkable medicinal plant.
All parts of the plant can be used – the nervine in the seeds of the fruit are calming and relaxing, especially when taken in combination with cacao (passion fruit and cacao are also ridiculously delicious together!) The passion flower – and also the new growth tips of the leaves – are a potent aromatase inhibitor when prepared as a tincture in alcohol – and is the tincture that we sell as our African Forest Medicinals Passion Flower Tincture.
Aromatisation and Estrogen Dominance
Aromatisation is when androgen hormones convert into estrogen in the body, creating an excess of estrogen, or “estrogen dominance”. This can cause all manner of health problems related to high levels of estrogen in the body (including breast, ovarian, prostate and testicular cancers, as well as many less life-threatening, yet still debilitating, conditions).
Estrogen dominance is becoming more and more common the more we expose ourselves to “xeno-estrogens” – estrogens that are foreign to the body, but get introduced via pesticides, plastic food and water containers and air pollution. These estrogens block the estrogen receptor sites in the body and cause higher levels of estrogen to be circulating in the body.
Breast cancer is particularly common in women due to estrogen dominance – and passion flower tincture has been proven especially useful for post-menopausal women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer.
One particularly distressing condition that estrogen dominance causes in men is gynecomastia, or “man boobs” – and this is also a condition that our Passion Flower tincture can help to reverse or prevent in the first place.
Water Extraction of Passion Flower
If you take the same flowers and leaf tips and make a tea out of them, however, and a completely different effect is achieved – a strong sedative – very useful if you are having trouble sleeping or suffer from anxiety. As our tincture is extracted in 40% alcohol, this also means that there is a cold water extraction taking place at the same time (the other 60% of the liquid) – so a certain calming and sedative effect can be noticed from taking this tincture. Less so than a hot water extraction, but there nonetheless. Sensitivity to this will vary from person to person – but several people have commented on this effect from our tincture.
Other Phytochemicals in Passion Flower
The roots contain psychoactive cannabinoids – as do cacao and cannabis – although they are not as pronounced in the passion flower plant.
Passion flower also contains harmaline, an MAO-inhibitor, thereby acting as an effective anti-depressant as it blocks the re-uptake of serotonin and other feel-good chemicals in the brain, enabling their effects to be felt for longer.