Passion Flower ~ Belief
She heard no sound before her gate,
Though very quiet was her bower.
All was as her hand had left it late:
The needle slept on the broidered vine,
Where the hammer & spikes of the passion-flower
Her fashioning did wait.”
Helen Gray Cone
In the 16th Century Christian Missionaries in South America named the flower (Passiflora spp) because they saw it as being a symbol of the death of Jesus Christ. It was the first flower they saw on their journey and they saw it as a good sign.
They thought that the five sepals and the five petals of the passion flower represented the ten disciples without Judas Iscariot and Peter.
They also thought that the double row of filaments (corona) on the passion flower represented the crown of thorns that Jesus was made to wear. It also resembled a halo.
The vine tendrils represented the whips that were used to scourge Jesus.
As a naturally grown medicinal herb, the passion flower is used as a sedative in nervous disorders (including gastrointestinal complaints of nervous origin), difficulties in sleeping, and anxiety or restlessness. Passion Flower reduces spasms and depresses the central nervous system. (Note: consult a health care professional before using passion flower as a medicinal supplement or herb).
The plant is indigenous to an area from the southeast U.S. to Argentina and Brazil.