Passion fruit, also known as granadilla, comes from the Passiflora edulis vine, an exotic plant native to subtropical regions of South America. There are over five hundred types of passion flower, however there are only two main varieties, a yellow and a purple, that are cultivated. The passion flower vine produce highly aromatic fruit. The inside of the fruit is filled with seeds held together by a flavorful juicy pulp used in juice, salads, and sorbets, along with flowers used in tea.
While most passion flower varieties require very warm climates with no frosts, maypops are a variety of passion flower grow in the southeastern U.S., and are native to areas as far north as Pennsylvania.
Improves: immune function, eyesight, vibrant skin, digestion, circulation, bone health, sleeping habits
Reduces: inflammation, signs of aging, blood pressure
Passion fruit is rich in phytochemicals, which are a collection of various compounds that are being studied by scientists for possible health benefits. The leaves and fruit of the maypop was traditionally used in the Americas, and later Europe, for it’s relaxing and calming effects, used to help with anxiety, seizures, and hysteria. An initial study demonstrated that maypops (P. incarnata) is useful in alleviating symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (1). Another small study found that passion fruit peel extract was able to reduce asthma symptoms in patients (2).
Aside from important antioxidants and phytochemicals, passion fruit contains high levels of nutrients that come as an added bonus to the exotic flavor and aroma. The fruit provides antioxidants and vitamins that keep skin vibrant and healthy, protect eye health, support cardiovascular system, and fortify the immune system, which helps to prevent free radicals from damaging the body. In fact, one serving of passion fruit has over 100% of the required amount of vitamin C recommended for a healthy diet (3).
Chemical structures called alkaloids are also found in plants, which are not often given much recognition. Harman, one of these alkaloids found in passion fruit, gives it a calming effect, which can reduce restlessness, anxiety, and help regulate sleeping patterns.
Vitamins: A, B2, B3, B6, C, E, K, Folate, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamin
Minerals: Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Zinc
Phytonutrients: Lycopene, Beta-Carotene, Beta-Cryptoxanthin
Electrolytes: Potassium, Sodium
- "Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam". Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 26 (5): 363–367. October 2001. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2710.2001.00367.x.
- Watson RS, Zibadi S, Rafatpanah H, Jabbari F, Ghasemi R, Ghafari J, Afrasiabi H, Yeap L, Faridhosseini R " Oral administration of the purple passion fruit peel extract reduces wheeze and cough and improves shortness of breath in adults with asthma" Nutrition Research, March 2008, 28(3):166-171.