Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is sometimes known as Passionvine or Mayhop and is a perennial vine that is native to the West Indies and Southern America although it is now grown in most parts of the world.

The passionflower gets its name from 15th and 16th century Spanish missionaries who applied the unique physical structure of the plant to symbolise the last days and crucifixion of Jesus Christ according to Wikipedia as follows:
* The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance.
* The tendrils represent the whips used in the Flagellation of Christ.
* The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (less St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer).
* The flower's radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the Crown of Thorns.
* The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
* The 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).
* The blue and white colours of many species' flowers represent Heaven and Purity.

The leaves, stems, flowers and tendrils of the plant have been used medicinally, ritually and recreationally and the fruit from the plant (sometimes known as passionfruit, granadilla or water lemon) is also popular. It can be taken as a tea infusion, tincture or smoking mix, however, as with all herb, a medical professional should be consulted first.

Although thorough medical testing has yet to be conducted, passionflower is thought to provide sedative and mild hallucinogenic effects. As a result, passionflower is sometimes used for anxiety and related conditions such as nervousness, agitation, stress, tension and insomnia as well as being used as a muscle relaxant and digestive aid. It is typically thought of as non-addictive and has been successfully used to decrease the impact of opiate, cannabis and alcohol withdrawal.

Passionflower may interact with other drugs, particularly blood thinning agents, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines and barbiturates. There have also been reports of passionflower causing hypersensitivity reactions (such as hives, skin blood vessel inflammation) and asthma. As a sedative, it may cause drowsiness and in larger doses it can create a hypnotic state or cause hallucinations. Passionflower is not recommended for pregnant women or young children.

As a magical herb, passionflower can be used to attract and keep love as well as to bring peace and blessings, particularly when grown in or around the home. The hummingbird (in the form of a charm or some other representation) enhances passionflower in spell work due to the assistance several breeds of hummingbird afford to some varieties of passionflower in terms of pollination.


Shadow said...

i've just decided, i'm planting one of those this spring! now to find one in a nursery...

Silvia said...

It's a fascinating plant and a beautiful flower. I would love to have one at home.

Wendy the (Very) Good Witch said...

Interesting reading on the PassionVine. We have this growing right now in the middle of our herb garden. We planted it beneath a windmill and it has completely taken it over. Unfortunately, it hasn't really flowered, but it has become quite the host plant for lots and lots of Gulf Fritillery butterflies.

Wendy said...

I hope your Passionvine flowers soon. I didn't know it was good in a butterfly garden - Yarrow is another good one for that. Blessings!