Sunday, June 13, 2010

Passion Flower is used as Medicinal Herb

Passion Flower is a woody vine with intricate blue, purple, red, or white flowers. Passion flower is also known as maypop. It is a woody vine with flowers which reminded early pilgrims of the passion or suffering of Christ. The plant produces small berry-like fruit called granadilla or water lemon. The aerial parts of the plant are gathered during fruiting season and then dried for future processing.

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) was used traditionally in the Americas and later in Europe as a "calming" herb for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hysteria. Passion Flower is a naturally grown medicinal herb, approved by the German Commission E in the treatment of insomnia and nervousness. Passion Flower reduces spasms and depresses the central nervous system.

The dried aerial parts of passion flower ( Passiflora incarnata ) have historically been used as a sedative and hypnotic (for insomnia) and for "nervous" gastrointestinal complaints. However, clinical evidence supporting any therapeutic use in humans is lacking. Early evidence suggests that passion flower may have a benzodiazepine like calming action.
  • Latin name: Passiflora incarnata.
  • Planting months: Spring through fall.
  • Cold tolerance: Hardy; USDA hardiness zone 6 through 11.
  • Light requirements: The passion flower needs full sun for best flowering, but it can be grown in part sun
  • Soil requirements: Occasionally wet, acidic to slightly alkaline soils; moderate salt tolerance; drought tolerant. Do not keep soil too moist.
  • Flowers: Lavender and white 4-inch-wide showy flowers in the spring and summer.
  • Fruit: 2-inch-wide oval-shaped berry with many seeds surrounded by an edible pulp appear in summer and fall. Changes from green to yellow when ripe.
  • Leaves: Smooth to finely-toothed three deeply lobed bright green leaves that die back in winter.
  • Size: Depends on supporting structure for climbing.
  • Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches.