Passiflora sp. • Maracujá


Vines belonging to the genus Passiflora can be found growing in the secondary forest at Amazonat. The flowers are of a brilliant red colour, which can catch your eye from quite a distance when lighted by the sun. Edible species of Passiflora such as Passiflora edulis and Passiflora alata are grown commercially in Amazonia (1), for example on the fertile soils of the várzea. Their fresh fruit is highly appreciated and may often serve as a basis for drinks and ice creams (2).

Extracts of the leaves of the two species above have shown anxiolytic and sedative activity in animals (3,4). In another study, extracts of Passiflora alata leaves raised levels of HDL-cholesterol in rats, which is anti-atherogenic and cardioprotective (1).  Evidence for anti-inflammatory effects of leaf extracts from Passiflora edulis has also been found (5). A compound with antifungal properties was identified in seeds from the same species (6). Furthermore, an extract of the rind showed anti-hypertensive effects, which can be related to some of its ingredients (7).

(1) Doyama JT, Rodrigues HG, Novelli EL, Cereda E, Vilegas W (2005) Chemical investigation and effects of the tea of Passiflora alata on biochemical parameters in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 96(3): 371-4

(2) Guides at Amazonat (pers. comm.)

(3) Coleta M, Batista MT, Campos MG, Carvalho R, Cotrim MD, Lima TC, Cunha AP (2006)
Neuropharmacological evaluation of the putative anxiolytic effects of Passiflora edulis Sims, its sub-fractions and flavonoid constituents. Phytother Res [Epub ahead of print]

(4) Reginatto FH, De-Paris F, Petry RD, Quevedo J, Ortega GG, Gosmann G, Schenkel EP (2006) Evaluation of anxiolytic activity of spray dried powders of two South Brazilian Passiflora species. Phytother Res 20(5): 348-51

(5) Montanher AB, Zucolotto SM, Schenkel EP, Frode TS (2006) Evidence of anti-inflammatory effects of Passiflora edulis in an inflammation model. J Ethnopharmacol [Epub ahead of print]

(6) Pelegrini PB, Noronha EF, Muniz MA, Vasconcelos IM, Chiarello MD, Oliveira JT, Franco OL (2006) An antifungal peptide from passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) seeds with similarities to 2S albumin proteins. Biochim Biophys Acta 1764(6): 1141-6

(7) Ichimura T, Yamanaka A, Ichiba T, Toyokawa T, Kamada Y, Tamamura T, Maruyama S (2006)
Antihypertensive effect of an extract of Passiflora edulis rind in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 70(3): 718-21