Could Passion Fruit Greatly Relieve Bodily Stress?
Passiflora edulis is a vine species of passion flower that is native to Paraguay, Brazil and northernArgentina. Its common names include passion fruit, purple granadilla and maracuja in the Amazon. It is cultivated commercially in warmer, frost-free areas for its fruit and is widely grown in India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Brazil, South Africa etc. The passion fruit is round to oval, either yellow or dark purple at maturity, with a soft to firm, juicy interior filled with numerous seeds. The fruit is both eaten and juiced. In Sri Lanka passion fruit juice, along with faluda is one of the most popular refreshments. The flowers gave it the name passionflower (or flower of passion) because Spanish missionaries thought they represented some of the objects associated with the Crucification of Christ.
There are over 200 species of passionflower vines; the most prevalent species in the Amazon arePassiflora edulis and P. incarnata.
Fresh passion fruit is high in beta carotene, dietary fibre. Passion fruit juice is a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamins of the B complex (especially, niacin) and enjoys high levels of minerals (calcium, potassium and phosphorus). Contains also passiflorine, an effective relaxing substance, that does not cause addiction.
Maracuja is good for people who have high blood pressure. Some research is showing that purple passion fruit peel may help with controlling asthma symptoms. The yellow variety is used for juice processing, while the purple variety is sold in fresh fruit markets. The fruit contains Lycopene in the mature and immature pericarp.
Purple Passion flower, Passiflora incarnata
A plant that provides overflowing goodness for your mind and body. Indigenous tribes throughout the Amazon have long used passionflower leaves for its sedative and pain-relieving properties; the fruit is used as a heart tonic and to calm coughs. The leaf infusion in the Old World it quickly became a favorite calming and sedative herb tea. Spanish conquerors of Mexico and South America also learned its use from the Aztec Indians and it eventually became widely cultivated in Europe.
In South America the fruit juice is also used as a natural remedy to calm hyperactive children, as well as for asthma, whopping cough, bronchitis and other tough coughs. In Peruvian traditional medicine today, passionfruit juice is used for urinary infections and as a mild diuretic.
Since its introduction into European herbal medicine systems, passionflower has been widely used as a sedative, antispasmodic and nerve tonic. It was also used for headaches, bruises and general pain; applying the bruised leaves topically to the affected area. In many countries in Europe, the U.S. andCanada, the use of passionflower leaves to tranquilize and settle edgy nerves has been documented for over 200 years. It was also employed for colic, diarrhea, dysentery, menstrual difficulties, insomnia, neuralgia, eye disorders, epilepsy and convulsions, and muscle spasms and pain.
Antispasmodic, anti-anxiety and hypotensive actions of passionflower leaves were clinically validated in the early 1980’s. An extract of the fruit demonstrated anti-inflammatory and tranquilizing effects in animal studies. Also, a leaf extract has also shown to have diuretic activity in rats. Passionflower has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac and recent clinical studies with mice have verified this use as well. In a 2003 study, a leaf extract was reported to improve overall sexual function, increase sperm count, fertilization potential and litter size. Its traditional use for coughs has also been recently confirmed. In a 2002 study with mice a passionflower leaf extract was shown to be comparable to the cough suppressant action of codeine.
Calming effect of Passionflower
Passiflora incarnta may provide relief from problems like nervousness and insomnia. It helps you mellow out by boosting the brain’s levels of a chemical called GABA, which lowers your brain activity. As such, it shows potential as a good sleep aid.
In one trial, people who drank an herbal tea containing passionflower over seven days saw improvements in the quality of their sleep. However, the benefits seemed to be short-term, and it may be most helpful to those with mild sleep irregularities.
In addition to sleep, one trial showed potential for passionflower as an anti-anxiety drug. Though the plant took longer to affect patients, it impaired their performance of work-related tasks less than oxazepam. A more recent study of surgical patients showed decreases in stress and anxietyafter taking passionflower.
How to take Passionflower
We’ve seen that passionflower may be of benefit to stress, insomnia, and even stomach problems like ulcers. The best way to take passionflower is through tea. The NYU Langone Medical Center suggests making one cup three times a day by soaking one teaspoon of dried leaves for 10 to 15 minutes. For tinctures and extracts, follow the directions on the labels.
Passionflower leaves are classified as “Generally Regarded as Safe” by the FDA. They are the subject of various European monographs for medicinal plants and are generally regarded as safe even for children and infants. Although its use hasn’t yet been approved for children or pregnant or lactating women.
The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:
|HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS|
|Main Actions||Other Actions||Standard Dosage|
|relieves pain||kills germs||Leaves|
|reduces anxiety||enhances libido||Infusion: 1 cup 2-3 times daily|
|relievs depression||increases urination||Capsules: 1-3 g 2-3 times daily|
|reduces inflammation||lowers blood pressure|
|stops convulsions||expels worms|
Sweet Granadilla, Grenadilla, Passion-fruit
Passiflora ligularis, commonly known as the Sweet granadilla. It is native to the Andes Mountains betweenBolivia, Venezuela and Colombia. It grows as far south as northern Argentina and as far north as Mexico. Outside of its native range it grows in the tropical mountains of Africa and Australia (where they are
known as Sweet granadilla may look like the common passion fruit (yellow variety) but there are several differences. The tip of this fruit ending in the stem. The seeds are surrounded by transparent jelly-liked pulp instead of orange pulp. The outer shell are much harder and it does not wrinkle when ripens.
Now the fruit is common in local markets of Papua New Guinea, where it is known as ‘sugar fruit’. The fruit is orange to yellow colored with small light markings. It has a round shape with a tip ending in the stem. The outer shell is hard and slippery, and has soft padding on the interior to protect the seeds. The seeds, which are hard and black, are surrounded by a gelatinous sphere of transparent pulp. The pulp with the seeds is the edible part of the fruit and has a soft sweet taste. It is very aromatic and contains vitamins A, C, and K, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and calcium.
Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Passion Fruit:
- The juice of passion fruit reduces cancer cell growth. Though research is underway on this issue, the phytochemicals in the fruit juice are considered to inhibit cancer cell growth.
- The phenolic acids and flavonoids present in the fruit are supposed to possess heart-protecting function.
- The phenolic profile of the fruit is known for its anti-microbial activity.
- Passion fruit is a good source of antioxidants, both water soluble and fat soluble ones.
- Passion fruit is considered good for products which require pasteurization.
- The fruit is quite high in carbohydrates and simple sugars, which improves athletic performance.
- It contains plant sterols, which help in lowering the levels of cholesterol.
- The seeds of the fruit are very vital sources of fiber should be chewed thoroughly.
- It is supposed to possess somniferous properties, which when taken before going to bed, help the person to relax and have a restful sleep.
- It is very good for attaining optimum health and to reduce weight.
Curuba, Banana Passion Fruit
Curuba also known as banana passion fruit, is part of the Passiflora family of plants, of which there are over 100 species with numerous subgenera. Although at least 60 of the Passiflora species bearedible fruits, only several are grown as commercial crops. Curuba’s close relative passion fruit is probably the most well known of the Passiflora genus outside of South America.
Curuba is a curious looking fruit. Its elongated, similar to a small English cucumber, but with a fuzzy textured yellow or green skin. Inside, the pulp is similar in appearance to that of passion fruit, although orange or yellow, not purple, with black seeds. The taste of curuba is similar to passion fruit although more concentrated, sweeter and more tart.
Although curuba originates from the Andean Valleys of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, the largest varieties are found in Colombia, where it grows year round and is sold in most town markets. Up until 200 years ago curuba fruit only grew wild. Today curuba grows as a commercial crop in its native South America and in the last century was introduced to Madras, India, Hawaii and New Zealand. Recently Colombiahas begun to export curuba and the frozen pulp variety has been available in the USA for many years. Attempts where made to propagate the fruit in Florida, but curuba does not grow successfully below4000 ft. In California it is grown as an ornamental only.
Curuba and its Nutrition
Like passion fruit curuba is a good source of fiber, primarily in the seeds. The fruit is also high in phosphorous, niacin, calcium, iron and contains sodium. Curuba is high in vitamin C and contains vitamin A or beta-carotene.
Curuba is one of the best sources of the Proanthocyanidins. These are powerful antioxidants considered equally as beneficial as resveratrol. Proanthocyanidins help protect our bodies against the oxidative damage caused by pollution and smoking which form free-radicals and cause chronic diseases. Curuba fruit is a good source of catechin, a type of polyphenol antioxidant found in the chemical compounds of plants. Other foods that contain polyphenols are blackberries, cranberries, grapes, green tea.
The aromatic curuba fruit is ripe when the skin turns yellow or red, depending on the genus, and the skin is slightly shriveled. The fruit is green when unripe, unless it is a variety known as curuba quiteña which is dark green when ripe. Once ripened it will keep for about five days at room temperature. It shouldn’t be refrigerated.