This week's Patron exclusive is a nice long look at passionflower. You may have heard of this herb already, I think it's been an Oprah/Dr. Oz favorite for a while now, but I first learned to identify this gorgeous and very versatile plant from my grandmother.
It's a beautiful and fascinating "weed" with a very rich tradition of use for the nervous system and as an antispasmodic. I've been a little nostalgic for it this week, so I thought it might make a nice post.
Here's a little peek (if you can believe it, this is less than half of the really great info available to Patrons).
Also known as maypop, this plant can become invasive and is a common weed in the southeast- if anything this beautiful can be called a weed! Passionflower develops showy purple and white flowers that look tropical (and even a bit like they could have come from another planet altogether!), but this herb is native to the southern U.S., Mexico, and Guatemala.
The flowers are followed by fruit that look like a hen's egg in size and shape, and turns from green to yellow when ripe. The pulp inside the fruit is edible and can be made into juice. Wildlife usually found the fruit before we did, so I’ve never tried it from the wild, but I do love passion fruit juice!
Passionflower is a superb nervine and antispasmodic. Although it is very useful for the stress associated with modern living, it has many traditional uses that would make it a good selection for emergent care scenarios when there is no higher care available.
Passionflower likes to grow on the edges of fields or in sunny places and can tolerate heavy, clay soils. It prefers fertile, well-drained soil, though, and will grow happily in a garden. It can be staked or trellised and can reach up to 20 feet in length. Seeds can be gathered in the fall when the fruit is ripe, or the plant can be propagated from cuttings. The young leaves and shoots were cooked and eaten as a wild green by some native tribes.
Summer: flowers, leaves, fruits Fall: fruit, roots.
Leaves harvested just before or during flowering. Fruit is harvested when ripe (usually turns yellow). Roots can be harvested at the end of the summer or fall.
Passionflower will increase the effectiveness of sedatives, so it should be used with caution alongside drugs such as: anticonvulsants, barbiturates, tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and drugs used for insomnia. It may also increase the effectiveness of monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
To make a tea, use 1 to 2 teaspoons of leaf and/or flower to 8oz of water.
20-50 drops of extract
Some herbalists have noted that this herb may cause hyperactivity in children ages 4 and under.
anodyne, antispasmodic, cerebral vaso-relaxant, hypnotic, hypotensive, nervine, sedative
Summary of Traditional Uses
P. incarnata is mostly used as a nervine and anodyne in the old literature and use centers mainly around the leaves. Ethnobotanical uses of the plant also incorporate the roots.
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All the Best,