The leaves and roots of the Passionflower have a long history of use amongst many Native Americans tribes, uses that were later adopted by European invaders. Pre-Columbian tribes used the passionflower primarily as medicine. When Spanish missionaries arrived, they considered the unique looking flower as a sign from God and a symbol of the passion of their Lord Saviour. That‘s where the name comes from.
In contemporary phytomedicine, Passiflora incarnata is still widely in use. Its sedative and soothing properties explain why it is often used for sleep disorders and insomnia. The herb doesn‘t cause any next-day hangover, which contributes to its popularity as a sleep aid. Also, passionflower acts against seizures, which is why it was used as a treatment for Parkinson's disease before more effective medication was discovered. It is also widely used to relieve anxiety, restlessness, a racing heart and headaches.
Taken by itself, passiflora incarnata triggers mild euphoria when smoked or ingested. However, even in high doses, passionflower does not seem to be strongly entheogenic by itself. Some have reported slight visual shifts, but most commonly the main effect is a euphoric sedation.
Many use passionflower to potentiate other substances, most notably DMT and mushrooms. The MAOIs contained in passionflower mimic the mechanism of ayahuasca, thus increasing the effects of DMT. There is evidence that Passiflora involucrata was used by tribal groups in the amazon region an admixture plant for ayahuasca brews. However, the relatively low MAOI activity of Passionflower makes it difficult to use the plant as an ayahuasca analogue, but such reports are not unheard of. To successfully activate oral doses of DMT, substantial amounts of p. incarnata would be needed, and there are few established guidelines at the moment. It is understood that passionflower can prolong the experience, and give it a euphoric spin.
Combining p. incarnata with magic mushrooms or truffles can greatly enhance their effect, specially when stronger passionflower extract is used.