Passion Flower Vine
Names: passiflora, maypop, passion vine, Maracuja, Maracuya, Passionfruit, Granadilla, Purple granadilla, Apricot vine, passionaria
Properties/Actions: Nutritive, Sedative
History: Passionflower was first cultivated by Native Americans for its edible fruit. Spanish conquerors first learned of passionflower from the Aztecs of Mexico who used it as a sedative to treat insomnia and nervousness. It was named flos passionis or flor de las cinco llagas (flower of the five wounds). The plant was taken back to Europe where it became widely cultivated and introduced into European medicine.
The unusual construction of its whitish violet flowers caused Spanish missionaries to name this plant with reference to elements of the passion of Christ: Its coronal threads were seen as a symbol for the crown of thorns, the curling tendrils for the cords of the whips, the five stamens for the wounds, the three stigmas for the nails on the cross, the ovary for the hammer, and the five petals and five sepals of the flower for the ten “true” apostles.
Passionflower is considered a symbol of faith and piety and is the state flower of Tennessee. Its traditional uses, in American aboriginal medicine, by the Cherokees of the southern Allegheny mountains, the Houmas of Louisiana, and the Aztecs of Mexico, are well documented and predate its entry into conventional American and European medicine.