Bush passion fruit:Edible plant that controls blood pressure | Sunday Observer

Bush passion fruit:Edible plant that controls blood pressure

16 January, 2022
Bush passion fruit leaf Melluma
Bush passion fruit leaf Melluma

During the past few weeks, a number of scientists and persons in authority warned the public of a shortage of food in the months to come. Such statements cannot be corroborated as Sri Lankans live in the lap of nature. The country is an abode to a myriad of edible plants which are free of harmful chemicals, rich in nutrients, delectable and contain medicinal properties.

Its inhabitants have been depending on locally available and wild food for centuries and led healthy and sated lives. There are yams, tubers and roots aplenty which are grown in the wild with less or no human intervention in growing them.

Although there may be a shortage of some luxury food that are imported, people in Sri Lanka should not be uncertain of food security. What they need is knowledge of the lesser-known edible plants which are grown in the wild as well as in home gardens. Awareness should be raised of such less-known edible plants so that people can incorporate them into their meals regularly. That helps fulfil the nutrient requirement of the body as well as to naturally curb and cure some illnesses.

Plants in the wild

Among the multitudes of edible plants that are found in the wild as well as in our surroundings, bush passion fruit is notable which is often ignored as a wild plant or as a plant with no edible parts other than the fruit. All parts of bush passion fruit are used in Sri Lankan ethnomedicine to cure various illnesses.

Bush passion fruit, which is scientifically known as Passiflorafoetida grows mainly in the wild. It is known by many names such as stinking passion flower, wild water lemon and running pop. It is popularly known in Sri Lanka as Pada Wel and in some parts of the country, people call this Del Batu and Udahalu.

It is a creeping vine and is propagated through seeds. Bush passion fruit has a beautiful flower similar to the flower of passion fruit, but comparatively smaller in size. It yields small fruits which are yellowish or orange in colour when ripened. The fruit is covered with a beautifully woven green coloured net and the pulp inside of the fragile outer layer tastes sweet and sour. Hence, people in Sri Lanka eat the fruit when it is ripened. Studies found that the fruit contains health-promoting compounds such as essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and antioxidant phenolic compounds.

Generally, other edible parts of this climber such as the leaves are not eaten due to ignorance.

Medicinal properties

The leaves are widely used in Sri Lankan ethnomedicine to prevent and control high blood pressure (HBP). Sri Lankan ethnomedical practitioner Dr. Palitha Sri Geegana Arachchige said that leaves have the ability to cure piles and constipation.

“The fruits and leaves of Udahalu are used in preparing medicines for diseases relating to the urinary tract and female reproductive system,” Dr. Geegana Arachchige said. He said that salad or Melluma made of bush passion fruit leaves are a proven cure for High Blood Pressure (HBP) and have the ability to instantly drop blood pressure.

The dishes made of the leaves of bush passion fruit can be recommended for people with HBP. We have experienced an instant drop in blood pressure after the consumption of bush passion fruit leaves by the patients with HBP. Hence, people with low blood pressure should avoid the consumption of bush passion fruit leaves. Healthy people can incorporate the dishes made of the leaves of this climber a couple of days a week,” Dr. Geegana Arachchge said.

Since the leaves of bush passion fruit have tiny fur, tenderest leaves should be plucked for cooking. Nonetheless, when preparing bush passion fruit leaves for consumption, they should be withered at least for an hour prior to cooking as they might contain a mildly toxic substance. Withering allows the mollifying of the toxicity of leaves. It is toned down when coconut is added as the latter has the ability to remove toxicity in food.

Culinary possibilities

Here are the culinary possibilities of bush passion fruit.

Curried bush passion fruit leaves


Tender bush passion fruit leaves 250g
Medium sized onion-1
Garlic- 2
Green chilli- 1
Curry leaves
A small piece of pandan leaf
A small piece of garcinia (Goraka)
A small piece of cinnamon
Second extract coconut milk
first extract coconut milk
Chilli powder ¾ tsps
Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
Curry powder 1 tsp


Chop bush passion fruit leaves (medium size), onion and green chili. Crush garlic. Add chopped and crushed ingredients into a clay pot. Add cinnamon, curry leaves, pandan leaf and garcinia. Add chilli powder, turmeric powder and curry powder. Then add second extract coconut milk and cook for about 15 minutes while stirring occasionally. Then add first extract coconut milk and salt and cook for another 5-6 minutes.

Herb porridge


Tender bush passion fruit leaves 250g
Suvandel rice 1 cup
Spring onions 3
Garlic 3 cloves
Scraped coconut
Curry leaves 100g
Cinnamon- a small piece
Pepper powder ¼ tea spoon
Lime juice 2 tbsps
Salt to taste


In a clay pot, add Suvandel rice, crushed garlic, chopped onion and cinnamon. Cook until rice is ready. In a blender add bush passion fruit leaves, curry leaves, scraped coconut and a sufficient amount of water and blend. Squeeze and strain the green liquid. When the rice is cooked, add this green liquid and salt. Cook for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add lime juice and powdered pepper. Serve hot with Kitul jaggery.

Sambolaya and Melluma

Ingredients required

Bush passion fruit leaves 250g
Green chili 2
Spring onions 4
Scraped coconut 1 cup
Lime juice
Grated Maldive fish (Umbalakada) 1 tsp


Finely chop bush passion fruit leaves, green chilli and spring onions. Mix with scraped coconut, and Maldive fish. Add salt and lime juice to taste.

To prepare Melluma, heat a clay pan and add the salad mix without adding Maldive fish and lime juice. Cook the leaves in high heat until they are withered for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add lime juice.

Orange and honey bush passion fruit drink

This drink is made of the ripened fruits of bush passion fruit. Remove the outer layer of the fruits and take the pulp with seeds. In a glass combine orange juice, honey and the fruit pulp of bush passion fruit. Add a sufficient amount of water. Add ice cubes if preferred.

tsp- teaspoon, tbsp- tablespoon