When we think of herbs that reduce hypertension naturally, passion flower (passiflora incarnata), may not immediately spring to mind. This potent herbal remedy is used mainly as a sedative and antispasmodic agent. However, passion flower tea has a role to play in lowering our high blood pressure.
Passion flower is a fast-growing perennial vine that is native to North and Central America although it can be successfully grown in similar climates elsewhere in the World. It is a large plant that can grow to a length of 9 metres and produces a purple flower that bears yellow-to-orange egg-shaped fruit.
Although known to the Aztecs and other civilizations in Central and North America who used it as a sedative and as a pain killer, passion flower was first introduced into modern medicine in the mid 19th Century by Dr L. Phares of Mississippi. Passion flower was listed in the United States National Formulary from 1916 to 1936.
Hypertension and Heart Disease
Passion flower is a potent herbal remedy because it calms muscle tension and twitching without affecting respiratory rate or mental function. The properties of this herb have been found to lower high blood pressure in the following ways:
- the harmane alkaloids found in passion flower lowers blood pressure by relaxing smooth muscle and expanding coronary arteries;
- it helps improve blood circulation;
- passion flower has anti-spasmodic properties;
- anxiety can cause or blood pressures to become elevated. Passion flower relieves anxiety;
- it has anti-inflammatory properties;
- it is a diuretic; and
- it can also slow down heart rate, and treat tachycardia.
Because of these properties, passion flower is a constituent of several commercially available anti-hypertension herbal supplements.
How to Make Passion Flower Tea
The dried leaves and stems of the passion flower contain the active constituents that possess its health benefits. Use 150mls of boiled water to 1 teaspoon of dried Passion flowers or leaves, and brew for 10 to 12 minutes. Strain the infusion into a cup or mug.
If the taste is not to your liking, add some honey.
For a soothing sleep, drink a cup of passion flower tea half an hour before bedtime.
How much passion flower tea is it safe to drink?
Passion flower is generally considered to be nontoxic when used in moderation. Many herbalists prescribe three or four cups a day without any problems reported.
Do not take passionflower if you are already taking prescription medication for anxiety or depression, as excessive sleepiness has been reported. If you are going to drink passion flower tea, avoid caffeine products for a few days before and after to make sure there is no reaction such as headaches.
Passion flower should not be consumed by pregnant women.
In trying to reduce our hypertension naturally, an infusion or tea made from passion flower can help lower our high blood pressure.
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