Passiflora has soothing action and can prevent depression
Passiflora is a botanical genus of about 500 species of plants, belonging to the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, but there are also shrubs and few species are herbaceous. Passiflora is best known for its fruit, the passion fruit.
Brazil has a large number of Passiflora species, but although it shelters almost a third of the species, only two of them are commercially exploited. They are: P. edulis (purple passion fruit) and its yellow form P.edulis Sims f. flavicarpa Deg. (yellow passion fruit) and P. alata (sweet passion fruit). About 90% of Brazil's production refers to yellow passion fruit. As the most used species in herbal medicines is the alata passiflora (sweet passion fruit) and passiflora incarnata (passion flower).
Passiflora has good amounts of flavonoids. They also have several biological and pharmacological effects, including antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic and vasodilatory activity.
Furthermore, these substances inhibit lipid peroxidation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, which are related to their antioxidant activity, characterized by the ability to sequester free radicals in living organisms.
Alkaloids are also present in the passiflora, they are beta-carbolines, serotonin derivatives and tryptophan, normally present in the body. They are inhibitors of the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO), and have agonist action with GABA and benzodiazepine receptors. They are used as tranquilizers and even to aid in the treatment of hypertension.
Passiflora also has saparinas. It is a substance that has action in the central nervous system, aiding the neurotransmitters and providing a sense of relaxation, for example.
Soothing action: Passiflora stimulates the release of hormones that lead to relaxation and a sense of well-being. Therefore, the plant is beneficial in cases of insomnia.
Prevents depression: Passiflora helps prevent depression because of the sense of well-being it provides.
Improves concentration: By providing a greater sense of well-being and relaxation, a person can achieve a greater state of concentration.
Good against infections: The passiflora has antibacterial action, so it is an ally
Good against Parkinson's disease: It is believed that the presence of harmine and harmaline alkaloids may be effective against Evil
Controls blood pressure: The harmalas, substances present in the passiflora, inhibit the excessive and unnecessary consumption of oxygen by the brain. It is believed that these compounds are also responsible for lowering circulation and breathing levels, reducing blood pressure.
The amount that can be ingested depends on each case and must be prescribed by a nutritionist or a
How to consume
The parts used for Passiflora consumption are its flowers, leaves and stems. They are used to make teas, tinctures and capsules.
Passiflora tea can be made as follows: place 2 teaspoons of dried Passiflora in a cup of boiling water and let it stand for 10 minutes. Then drink and drink up to 3 times a day
When taking the passiflora does not exceed the prescribed amount, not to reach undesirable effects. It also should not be used during pregnancy, because it has substances in its extract that cause increased uterine contraction. Children, patients with a history of hypersensitivity and allergy to some component of the plant and women in the phase of breastfeeding should only make use of the passiflora after the medical recommendation. It is not recommended for patients taking other sedative, hypnotic or antihistamine drugs. Passionflower is recommended for people with a higher level of stress, insomnia and anxiety.
Risks of excess consumption
When consumed excessively the passionflower may potentiate the sedative effects, increasing the time of sleep. In some cases, it may also increase the anticoagulant action, caused by coumarins present in the plant species. In addition, nausea, vomiting, headache and tachycardia can occur.
Passiflora is allied against depression - Photo: getty Images
Combining passiflora with chamomile is an option to further enhance its calming effects
Nutritionist Cátia Medeiros, of Current Nutrition
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