I was very happy when my friend Rachel, a flower essence maker, told me she knew of a passionflower vine in her neighborhood. I take passionflower extract whenever I have insomnia caused by an overactive mind or when I am feeling irritable or anxious, and I find it works great for all of the above with no noticeable side effects. I wake up normally and my sleep is natural and undisturbed. It can get quite expensive at the store, where a 1 ounce bottle of tincture goes for about $15. Fortunately, Rachel knew of a spot where it had grown over someone’s fence and along a chainlink fence on the sidewalk — which is, as far as I’m concerned, the public commons.
Passiflora spp. flowers are one of nature’s most imaginative expressions. The first time I saw a picture of one, in one of Sam Thayer’s books, I could hardly believe it was real. (Check out this gorgeous photo, and this one , and this one too).
All parts of the plant are medicinal. Since they are no longer flowering, I harvested the leaves and stems. At home I cut the leaves up further with a pair of scissors and poured them into a small glass jar, filling it to the top. I then poured Everclear halfway to the top and then added tap water to the rest. This is a simple and easy way to make a 1:2 ratio extract using a menstruum with approximately 50% alcohol.
Passionflower is also known as maypop, and it has an edible fleshy fruit: passionfruit, high in beta carotene and niacin, according to Steve Brill. I would like to taste it but haven’t yet.
Other medicinal uses for passionflower include calming hyperactive children, soothing nervous headaches, treating neuralgia, lowering blood pressure, and controlling spasms (whether hiccups, coughs, or, reportedly, even epilepsy). The Cherokee use a tea of the root to help wean babies.
You can smoke the dried herb or take it as tea as well.
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