Passion Flower (Passiflora incarta)

Identification:
Passion Flower has a perennial root with fast-growing, climbing, annual tendrils that may reach 30 feet before succumbing to frost.
The leaves are dull Passion Flower Fruit
green, 4 to 6 inches long, and deeply divided into three to five lobes with serrated edges.
It’s sweet-scented white flowers are 3 inches across and tinged with purple. They bloom in may, hence the name Maypop, and produce egg-sized yellow or orange edible fruits, the source of the names Apricot Vine and Water Lemon.
Family: Passifloraceae (Passion Flower family)
Other Names: Maypop, Molypop, Passion vine, Purple passion flower, Apricot vine, Water lemon
Flowers: July – October
Parts Used: Flowers and leaves
Habitat: Southern U.S., from Virginia to Florida, westward to Missouri to Texas.
History: The Indians used Passion Flower’s leaves as a poultice to treat bruises and injuries. The fruit’s juice has been used for sore eyes. The crushed plant tops were used to treat hemorrhoids, burns and skin eruptions.
Passion Flower is so named from the resemblance of its finely cut corona, in the center of the blossoms to the crown of thorns; and the other parts (petals and sepals) to the Apostles and the Passion of Jesus Christ. Another common name of Passion Flower, Maypop is earned because of its small, melon shaped, edible fruits which are one to two inches long and “pop” if mashed.
Passion Flower was considered an antispasmodic and sedative. Today, it is an ingredient in certain sleeping pills. Passion Flower was officially entered in the National Formulary from 1916 to 1936.
Constituents: Alkaloids, including hazmine and flavonoids.
Medicinal Properties:
Properties: Sedative, Nervine, Antispasmodic (preventing spasm), and Anodyne (pain reliever).
Main Uses: It is used is cases of neuralgia (sharp pain along a nerve), generalized seizures, hysteria and nervous tachycardia (fast heart beat), spasmodic asthma and highly recommended for insomnia. Passion Flower may be used with Valerian and Hops for insomnia. It is also used for stress.
Tranquilizer, Sedative:
Passion Flower contains substances that are potentially tranquilizing (maltol, ethyl-maltol, and flavonoids), as well as substances that are potentially stimulating (harmala chemicals). Various researchers have concluded the herb has “complex activity” on the central nervous system with an overall mild tranquilizing/sedative effect despite the presence of stimulants. In Europe, Passion Flower is an ingredient in many tranquilizing
and sedative preparations. It’s non-narcotic, so there’s no need for a prescription and there’s no possibility of addiction.
How To Grow:
Passion Flower grows easily from seeds, cuttings, or root runners divided in autumn. It prefers rich, slightly acidic well-watered, well-drained loam in locations with plenty of light but shaded from strong, direct summer sun.
The perennial root is hardy but may not survive temperatures below -15 degrees F.The vine tendrils need something to climb—a fence or trellis.
Harvest the aerial parts around the time the flowers bloom. When generously watered, the fruits are edible and sweet.
Preparation And Dosages:
For possible first aid in the garden, crush a few Passion Flower leaves and flowers onto minor cuts on the way to washing and bandaging them.
For a pleasant-tasting infusion that may help you relax, fall asleep, or help deal with heart disease, use 1 teaspoon of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep 10 to 15 minutes.
For insomnia, drink a cup before bedtime. For other uses, drink up to 3 cups a day.
Tincture: Fresh (1:2), dry (1:5) 50% alcohol. 1/2 to 1-1/2 teaspoons up to 3 times a day.

Passion Flower should not be given to children under age 2.

Passion Flower is also a wild food.

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