Passion Flower

Passiflora incarnata L.

Life Cycle: Perennial
Family: Passifloraceae

Overview

Description

Passionflower is a climbing vine that is native to the southeastern United States, and Central and South America. Passionflower has been used historically by indigenous people or North and South America. This plant blooms in the summer and fruits in the late summer/fall. The stems, flowers and leaves of the passion flower are used widely as an herbal treatment for asthma, insomnia, high blood pressure and pain relief.  Tea is used to sooth nerves. 

Parts Used 

Stems, leaves and flowers

Leaves are three-lobed, dark green and 2.5″in diameter with fringed flowers. The flowers are short-stalked from leaf axils. The petals and sepals (supportive region of the bloom) link a fringe of thin and wavy hair-like segments. The plant contains flavonoids. 

Medicinal Uses 

Nervine and antispasmodic.

Actions

Passionflower is commonly utilized to respond to insomnia, aiding transition into a natural sleep. It may also be used wherever an antispasmodic is necessary, such as in seizures or Parkinson’s disease. It is also effective for nerve pain and viral infections of the nerves known as shingles. 

Indications

  • Passionflower is effective for treating nervousness, anxiety and insomnia; especially as it relates to drug and alcohol withdrawal, exhaustion, stress, asthma, and epilepsy. It  boosts the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. 
  • It is useful for restful sleep without producing groggy, hangover effects. 
  • Passionflower is a muscle relaxant, relieving spasms, pain and neuralgia after viral infections such as shingles or herpes.
  • It tranquilizes, soothes the stomach and combines well with kava, skullcap, and valerian.
  • Passionflower is suitable for nervous children or those with heart disease or asthma.

Dosage

  • Infusion/Tea: 5 – 2 grams of herb per cup of water as infusion 3 times per day
  • Tincture: 20-40 drops, 4 times daily.

Safety

Passionflower is generally considered to be safe but may cause drowsiness and may increase the sedative power of barbiturates. Passionflower should not be used during pregnancy as it may induce contractions.

Cultivation

Growing Conditions 

  • Requires low to medium water use.
  • Needs sun, can grow in partial shade (needs at least four full hours of sunlight a day)
  • Can thrive in moist or dry soil.
  • Prefers rich, non-saline clays, loams, sands.
  • Direct sowing in containers is recommended.
  • Germination tends to be slow and erratic. 2-8 months. 

Propagation from Seed

  1. Prepare seed before planting by either soaking the seeds for 24-48 hours in warm to the touch water, just prior to planting.  Discard floating seeds or lightly scarify seed with sand paper to provide some permeation on the seed coat.
  1. Prepare a container with moist, sterile soil.
  2. Once pretreated, plant seeds 1/2-1″ deep in moist, sterile soil. Cool soils will significantly delay seed germination time if not inhibit germination altogether.
  1. Keep soil moist at all times.
  2. Once sprouts appear, keep out of direct sunlight until true leaves appear.
  3. Transplant once the plant gets large enough, possessing several sets of leaves.

Planting

These plants are often put into the ground in containers to prevent mass propagation.

For Transplant (out of container)

  1. Dig a hole three times the diameter of the root ball.
  2. Remove the plant from the pot and wash off the potting soil revealing the root system.
  3. Prune off any circling or errant roots and plant.
  4. Add water and the native soil to the hole.
  5. Put sprout in the hole and cover with soil.

For Transplant (in container)

  1. Bring containers outdoors in summer. 
  2. Find a sunny, warm spot.
  3. Bring indoors over winter and put the plant in a sunny window.

Companion Plants

Passionflowers pair well with other butterfly-attracting plants such as butterfly bush, butterfly weed, pentas and Joe Pye weed.

Pests

Disease

Prone to viruses.

Insects

Caterpillars, beetles and other foliage-chewing insects, Sap-sucking insects, such as spider mites and scale, nematodes. 

Harvest

Harvesting Tools

  • Collection receptacle; wicker, cloth, or paper which breathes so that the herbs do not grow mold.  
  • Scissors
  • Hand sanitizer  
  • A small stool or sitting mat may be helpful when harvesting for a long period of time.

Harvesting Procedure 

Harvest when the plant is mature and blooming.

  1.  Sanitize hands and equipment 
  2.  Relax and direct generative thoughts toward the plants
  3. Cut stems, leaves and flowers from passion flower plants with scissors when they blooming
  4. Check to remove any brown leaves or flowers from the stalk 
  5. Place them in basket
  6. Repeat until you have desired amount of Passionflower

Drying & Production

Tincture

Dried Plants: 1 part dry weight (grams) to 5 part liquid volume (ml)

Fresh Plants: 1 part dry weight (grams) to 2 parts liquid volume (ml)

Items for Production    

  • Disposable Vinyl gloves
  • Alcohol 120 proof
  • Batch jars: 1 gallon wide mouth glass with lids
  • Scale
  • Tincture press
  • Food processor or blender
  • Cheesecloth or press filter bags

Procedure 

  1. Put on a pair of disposable vinyl gloves.
  2. Crush or chop up plant material weighing it carefully. 
  3. Record the weight and place the plant material in a blender or food processor.
  4. Weigh the materials and document the weight. 
  5. Measure alcohol equal 5 times the dried herb weight.
  6. Measure alcohol equal 2 times the fresh herb weight
  7. Pour the liquid over the herbs and blend in a food processor to create a slurry.
  8. Pour the slurry into a wide mouth batch jar using a spoon to remove any air pockets.
  9. Fill a centimeter or more over the plant material to prevent any herbs from exposure to air.
  10. Place the lid on the jar and store in a cool dark place.
  11. Let the jar sit for 4-6 weeks or more.
  12. Shake jars up periodically during that time.
  13. After this point the tincture is stabilized and can be used as needed.
  14. When the tincture is ready for use, drain off the liquid into another batch container.
  15. Place the dregs into a cheesecloth pouch or tincture press filter bags.
  16. Use the tincture press to press the remaining liquid out of the dregs.
  17. Press hard enough to retrieve all of the liquid.
  18. For internal consumption the menstruum should be 100-140 proof alcohol which is 50-70% alcohol
  19. Measure and document the yield.
  20. The tincture may be stored in batches or decanted into dropper bottles for distribution.

Dried Passionflower Tea

Items for Production

  • Disposable vinyl gloves
  • Clean water
  • Washing vats
  • Colander
  • Plant Dehydrator
  • Vita mix commercial blender
  • Storage bags

Procedure

  1. Put on a pair of disposable vinyl gloves.
  2. Weigh fresh passionflower to be used and document the weight.
  3. Place the plant material in a large container of clean room temperature water.
  4. Agitate gently to remove insects, soil foreign plant material etc.
  5. Rinse well and repeat this procedure again.
  6. Place plant material in a colander over the sink to drain excess water
  7. Shake colander to promote drainage.
  8. Spread the plant material  evenly across dehydrator trays so that the airflow  is even.
  9. Stack trays into the dehydrator.
  10. Set the dehydrator to 100°.
  11. Set the timer to 48 hours.
  12. At the end of the cycle check to see if flower material is fully dried.
  13. If not dried to your satisfaction set timer for another 48 hours.
  14. Dried plant material can now be placed in the vita mix food processor in small amounts.
  15. Use the pulse setting to mill the plant material down to the desired size for bulk tea
  16. If powder is desired run a blender or food processer for the amount of time it takes to break plant material into the appropriate powder.
  17. Upon completion place the dried plant material in tightly sealed storage bags or containers.
  18. Weigh the yield and document the weight.
  19. Carefully label the storage bags or containers with plant name, weight, source, and the date.
  20. Store in a dark dry place.