Passiflora incarnata; commonly known as Passionflower
Legend has it that this exquisite herb got its name because its magnificent corona resembles Christ’s crown of thorns. Passionflower has ‘anxiolytic’ and ‘spasmolytic’ actions, and is one of the primary herbs used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. That anxious, excitable, irritable feeling with heart palpitations and shallow breathing is quickly calmed with a good dose of this amazing herb. It is also a mild sedative, assisting with sleep onset and maintenance. I find it is particularly effective for people who struggle to fall asleep due to repetitive worrisome thoughts.
Passionflower is effective for treating tension headaches and period pain due to its ability to relax the muscles while also having a mild hypnotic effect. It can be used acutely but is best taken consistently for a period of several months to bring the body back into balance.