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Hi, everyone! Today, because it’s been so pretty the past month or so, we’re going to talk about our passionflower. This stuff is wonderful. I particularly like this plant because you can use the leaves, flowers, and fruit–and the fruit is ridiculously delicious. It does seem to grow wild in a few areas in Florida. Someone grows it in their yard and then it will magically appear in neighboring lots. It spreads like wildfire. It’s native to Florida, so it naturally does pretty well here.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

Some people have a difficult time getting their passionflower to bloom or fruit. Right now, mine is small and I had three flowers and currently one fruit. If the vine is large it is possible that there isn’t enough sun hitting where it needs to for blooming and fruiting. It really depends on its location. If the vine is huge and shading itself, pruning will help. Good pollination is essential, too. We’re very lucky to have so many bees. Our community, as a whole, does everything possible to attract beneficial pollinators and/or does everything possible to prevent their demise. We have a water source and plenty of attractive plants and trees for bees particularly, so much to the point that we do foresee a hive in our future. Anyway, I feel very fortunate that the passionflower is giving at least one fruit its first year, especially since it is so tiny right now. You should not pick the fruit. It will not ripen off the vine. If possible, it is best to wait until it falls. That way you know it’s ready to eat.

Passionflower is labeled as cool and dry (Ayurveda). It is bitter and is especially fantastic for sleep. There are actually several herbs for promoting a good night of Z’s, but what makes passionflower unique is that it is especially helpful if the reason you’re up when you should be asleep is circular thoughts. I don’t have a chronic case of insomnia, but when I do have a hard time sleeping it is usually because my brain won’t shut up. I already get 4-5 hours of sleep. It doesn’t appear to effect my functioning, but if I’m in any danger of getting less than four hours I act quickly in trying to prevent that. I often concoct a tea infusion with passionflower in the mix.

If you suffer from anxiety due to circular thoughts, this may help. Do keep in mind though that passionflower is technically a sedative. Everyone is different and if you’re taking any for anxiety, you may have to adjust your formula if you don’t want to battle drowsiness. I take it in the late evening when I do take it. I respond very strongly to medications and herbs and I often find myself taking less than recommended for everything in many scenarios. Everybody is different. Start off with less and add as you need to.

Passionflower is also analgesic, so this lessens perception of pain. Passionflower is antispasmodic, but if you’re having trouble sleeping due to muscle pain I would really look into valerian root, another sedative a little more geared for when the stresses of the body, not the mind, are what’s keeping you up at night.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

Again, this herb is bitter so if the tea is too much for you, a tincture may be more bearable.

Passionflower has hypotensive properties. This means it can aid in lowering blood pressure, which helps with its other calming properties.

It is NOT advised to take this on top of other medications one may be taking for insomnia or anxiety.

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