Passionflower is the official wildflower of Tennessee.
Passion Flowers have been associated with the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ as well as the Passion of Christ. The latter association led the missionaries to name the flowers “Passion Flowers.” The ten petals and sepals, to the Spanish, represented ten disciples present at the crucifixion. The three stigma represented three nails on the cross, the five anthers the five wounds of Christ. The many fringes represented the crown of thorns in the passion story. Bosio counted 72 fringes or filaments, which according to tradition, writes Vanderplank, is the number of thorns in the crown of thorns. Interpretations vary in literature. A poet of the time explains that this flower was used to persuade Indians of the power of the cross. The passion flower, he writes, was a witness at the crucifixion.
Passionflower is ruled by Venus and used mystically to bring peace to problems and troubles in the home as well as carried to attract friends and popularity. Information from Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (Cunningham's Encyclopedia Series) I'm sure its lovely fragrance could attract many admirers!
Passionflower was not widely used until the 1890s. The dried flowering and fruiting tops were listed in National Formulary from 1916 to 1936 as a sedative and sleep aid, but in 1978, the Food and Drug Administration banned it from sleep aids after no evidence for its effectiveness was presented during hearings. Herbs for Health: Passionflower for Food, Health and Beauty My advice is try it for yourself and see what you think!
Gather Passionflower above ground after some of the fruit have matured, hang in bundles (under 1 inch wide at base, avoid crowding) to dry for later use. Avoid drying herbs in damp areas, stagnant air or direct light for best results. Use all of the aerial parts including stems; don't discard them like you do with most herbs as they contain medicinal properties. It seems to me that tea made with the stems is more potent than just the leaves and flowers. Gather edible fresh, juicy, fruit when soft and light yellow-green and store in refrigerator for up to a week.
Nature's Herbal Passionflower Monograph - Deb Jackson's writings and beautiful scanned plant images
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