Purple Passionflower(Passiflora incarnata) or sometimes called Maypop is a beautiful perennial vine grown in zones 5-9. Not only are the flowers unique and beautiful, Purple Passionflower has a long medicinal history. Native Americans have long used Passionflower for various maladies including palpitations, epilepsy, high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia. It’s great claim to fame is it’s calming effect. Scientists believe passionflower works by increasing levels of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA lowers the activity of some brain cells, making the individual feel more relaxed. Passionflower is considered a safe herb for both human and animal alike when used in moderation.
Passionflower Medicinal Uses:
Besides being a beautiful vine with gorgeous flowers for your enjoyment, Passiflora incarnta also has medicinal uses for your pooch.
- Anxiety – Helps with fear of loud noises such as fireworks and thunder, separation anxiety, and travel anxiety
- Seizures – Works by increasing the GABA levels in the brain
What Parts Of The Plants Are Used?
All above parts of the plant can be used including the flowers, stems and leaves. The edible fruits which ripen in fall, can be eaten fresh or made into a jelly.
Passiflora incarnata can be given several different ways.
- Fresh – Pick leaves(can include stems), wash thoroughly in cool water and add to your dogs food or homemade treats.
- Dried Herb – The amount depends on the dogs weight. Here is a general guideline when administering herbs to dogs (from the book Dr. Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Dog Care by R. Kidd)
- 1-10lbs 1 small pinch once daily
- 10-20lbs a bigger pinch once daily
- 20-50lbs 1 teaspoon once daily
- 50-100lbs 2 teaspoons once daily
- Over 100lbs up to 1 tablespoon daily
- Tea – Add 1-4 teaspoons(depends on the weight of your dog) per cup of boiling water. Allow the herb to steep until the mixture is cool. Strain out the liquid and discard(I compost!) the herb. Add 1/4 cup – 1 cup to your pups food 1-3 times a day. Again this is a general guideline from Dr Kidd’s book. I give my Boxer Kippah (who is about 60lbs) roughly 1/2 cup up to 3 times a day.
- Tincture – Give according to the dogs weight.
- 1-10lbs give 1-3 drops, 2-3 times/day
- 10-20lbs give 3-5 drops, 2-3 times/day
- 20-50lbs give 5-10 drops, 2-3 times/day
- 50-100lbs give 10-20 drops, 2-3 times/day
- Over 100lbs give adult human dose
Passionflower should not be used if other medications affecting the nervous system are being used. Also, because passionflower may stimulate the uterus, it should not be used by pregnant animals. Before using Passionflower make sure to consult a qualified professional practitioner.
If you have a green thumb and want to grow your own Passionflower from seed be patient because they can take a long time to germinate, trust me I tried! I bought a small seedling on Ebay earlier this year. It grew well and seemed happy but it didn’t produce any flowers. Hopefully next year I will see some of those gorgeous flowers! If you decide to try your hand at growing this beautiful and useful plant, make sure you have a lot of space. Passiflora incarnata can grow up to 25 ft long and needs a good sturdy fence or trellis to sprawl on. Look for organic seeds/plants and only use natural fertilizer to ensure the best quality herb for you and your pup!