Imagine turning to your garden instead of the medicine cabinet when you have a headache or insomnia. You can begin to explore the fascinating world of herbal medicine by growing these native plants with surprising abilities. Of particular interest to many is the purple passionflower. This unique plant is hard to mistake when it flowers in summer. From its bright violet head to its exciting wavy fringe, passionflower catches the eye of all who behold it.
About the Passionflower
- As a summer bloom, purple passionflower will infuse your garden, exhibiting soothing tones of violet with exciting pops of yellow and orange.
- The leaves resemble spinach in taste and use—you can enjoy them raw in salads or as an addition to pasta and baked dishes.
- Passionflower fruit is produced in late summer and early fall after the plant has matured. Although the fruit resembles eggs, it is packed with much more sweetness and flavor. You can harvest the fruit once the outer skin looks wrinkled; it can be eaten straight off the vine or made into jams or drinks.
- Despite the complexity of its gorgeous flowering head, this robust vine is not picky about where it grows—it is called “old field apricot” by many because it is often seen growing along roadsides and overgrown fields.
- You can easily grow your own passionflower in well-drained, sandy soil. Simply plant in a sunny spot, provide a structure on which it can climb, and take pride in this beautiful garden addition.
Medicinal Properties of the Passionflower
The purple passionflower is utilized by many as a homegrown medicinal aid for anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity, menopausal symptoms, insomnia, and stress reduction.
The Cherokee discovered passionflower’s healing qualities thousands of years ago and continue to use the plant to treat various ailments. In native Cherokee the vine is called “Ocoee”, meaning “apricot place” (hence the common name “old field apricot”). Most parts of the plant can be used in a variety of ways. Dry cuttings of the flowering plant can make a sedative tea, while syrup derived from the fruits and flowers can help to cool fevers. A wash of flower extract may even be applied to aid in the treatment of burns and hemorrhoids.
Additional Medicinal Plants
Have we peaked your interest in medicinal plants? If so, here are two other suggestions to get you started on your home remedy garden.
- Aloe vera: If you forgot your sunscreen during your trip to the beach, break a full leaf off of this popular succulent to find relief. Simply cut it down the middle, and apply the gel inside directly to skin to soothe the pain of sunburn. As a succulent, aloe vera requires little attention so long as it is growing in full sun and well-drained soil—a perfect and nearly effortless addition to your medicinal garden!
- Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): You may be familiar with echinacea tea, as it is found in most grocery stores (varieties mixed with lemon or lavender are some of our favorite teas). Echinacea is a powerhouse of a healing plant. They are a natural way to boost your immune system and treat common colds or minor inflammation. Tea from the leaves and tinctures derived from the roots are the most common ways to take advantage of purple coneflower’s benefits. As a bonus, Echinacea attracts a large number of pollinators!
A Word of Warning: You should always consult your doctor before using any new medication, herbal or otherwise.
At Big Earth Landscape Supply, we can provide everything you need to start your new garden or rejuvenate your landscape. From fertilizer to soil and gardening tools, we are your one-stop shop. Stop by today to get started!