Saturday, July 11, 2009

Passion Flower 2 (fruit)




Passion flower fruit: info to be added.
I hope to soon add some of my own experiences with the eating of the Passion fruit (my old writing is hidden in an E-file somewhere, but Carla Herra of Mature Health < http://maturehealth.wordpress.com/ > shares that she has harvested the flower itself for medicinal purposes.
Traditional medicinal use of the flower and vine has been to treat nervous disorders and insomnia, but recent studies of the herb indicate it also relieves muscle spasms and lowers blood pressure. Tablets and other products containing passionflower are popular in Europe as a mild sedative and anxiety reliever.
For more on possible uses of the Passion flower see Carla's essay posted in the comments section.

1 comment:

idarkansas said...

Passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

By Carla R. Herrera

After obtaining permission from a local farmer, traversing a few fences and walking through cow patties, I was able to harvest a few of the local passionflower (Passiflora incarnata).

My herb bag stuffed full with the flowers wrapped in newspaper, I finally stopped, but I know I will be making a return trip to the spot soon. The vine is invasive and the owner of this piece of land has been trying to get rid of it for some time.

The common name of the flower comes from Spanish missionaries during the 15th century who associated it with the ‘Passion’ of the Christ because of its distinct physical features.

The fruit of the vine, called the maypop, is usually eaten by wildlife with a few locals enjoying it right off the vine and some scraping the inside of the fruit and making a sweet syrup used as a pancake or ice-cream topper.

Traditional medicinal use of the flower and vine has been to treat nervous disorders and insomnia, but recent studies of the herb indicate it also relieves muscle spasms and lowers blood pressure. Tablets and other products containing passionflower are popular in Europe as a mild sedative and anxiety reliever.

My own experience with the flower includes an infusion/tea made for my daughter with four of the fresh flowers. Suffering from stress, she decided to help test the properties of the herb.

She drank most of an eight-ounce cup and promptly fell asleep for a few hours. I drank half of a cup and felt the effects almost immediately. I became quite sleepy and felt a bit off balance when walking.

Passiflora incarnata should not be confused with the species caerulea, which is also cultivated in the United States. The greenery of Passiflora caerulea contains cyanogenic glycoside as a constituent and breaks down into cyanide. Though the toxin can be broken down through cooking, it is best to avoid completely.

Harvesting

Passionflower grows in places with direct sunlight and is considered invasive by many gardeners and farmers. The exotic looking flower is unmistakable when compared to other wildflowers. Also called the purple passionflower, the corona of the flower is purple and surrounded by bluish-white petals.

Once found, I generally snap the vine connected to the flower or cut with scissors and place the fresh flower in newspaper until I can get them on a drying rack.

Drying

I have tried a couple of different methods of drying.

Oven drying is the quickest and most convenient method of drying. Pre-heat oven to 300˚. Wash plant material thoroughly, place fresh flowers on a baking sheet, and lay as flat as possible. Lower oven temperature to just below 200˚ and place the flowers inside with the oven door left slightly ajar.

Check and turn frequently. The stamen takes the longest to dry, so you may end up with brown petals before the center is finished drying. If you notice the petals turning color too much remove immediately and dry the stamen separately.

Screen drying takes longer, but is much safer and will not destroy the constituents to the degree oven drying does.
If you have a decent size window screen you can set up indoors. I use a large screen with newspaper laid at the base and plant material laid over the newspaper. Then another layer of newspaper over the plants. The newspaper helps absorb the moisture, but keeps the plants free of light and slightly cool. The plants take approximately two-three weeks to dry.

Using passionflower

Infusion/tea:
Use either one tsp of dried material per cup or one ounce per pint (16 oz.) of water.
Let seep approximately 5-10 mins. Depending upon the strength you prefer. Sweeten to taste.