Passiflora incarnata

Other Names:  Maypops, Apricot-vine,
Passiflore rouge, Passionsblume, Purple Passion-flower, Passion Vine

Eastern N. American native perennial vine. Virginia and Kentucky, south to Florida and Texas. Found growing in sandy thickets and open fields, roadsides, fence rows and waste places. Cultivation: Passionflower is easily cultivated through root division or by seed, transplants from the wild do well, it requires a well-drained soil, sandy slightly acid soil in full sun. A trellis should be provided, since it is a tendril climbing vine. Passionflower has many beautiful large and aromatic flowers, it grows very quickly and produces edible fruit and medicinal uses. It has large three lobed serrated leaves with beautifully intricate purple and white sweet-scented flowers that are from 2 to 3 inches across. Flowers bloom from June to August. The passion fruit, when ripe is yellow-green and the size of a small hen's egg. The yellow pulp is sweet and edible. Gather the herb, above ground after some of the fruit have matured, dry for later use. Gather edible fresh, juicy, fruit when soft and light yellow-green.

Passionfruit is edible and medicinal. The delicious fruit and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked in jellies, jams, young leaves are used as a cooked vegetable or eaten in salads. There is scientific evidence of the medicinal constituents of this herb. Recent studies have pointed to the flavonoids in passion flower as the primary constituents responsible for its relaxing and antianxiety effects. Some of the plants constituents, Apigenin, Luteolin, Kaempferol, and Quercetin, are being studied and showing promise in fighting Parkinson's Disease, Cancer, HIV, Leukemia, and more.

The leaves and stems are medicinal used as antispasmodic, astringent, diaphoretic, hypnotic, narcotic, sedative, vasodilator and are also used in the treatment of women's complaints.  Passionflower is used as an alternative medicine in the treatment of insomnia, nervous tension, irritability, neuralgia, irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual tension and vaginal discharges. An infusion of the plant depresses the motor nerves of the spinal cord, making it very valuable in the treatment of back pain. The infusion is also sedative, slightly reduces blood pressure and increases respiratory rate. The herb contains alkaloids and flavonoids that are an effective non-addictive sedative that does not cause drowsiness. It is of great service in epilepsy. The plant is not recommended for use during pregnancy. The dried herb is much exported from America to Europe for use as an alternative medicine.

Medicinal tea: To 1 tbsp. dried herb add 1 cup boiling water steep for 10 min. drink at bedtime for restlessness. Quite flavorful and aromatic.