How Growing Passionflower Healed my Broken Heart and the Lessons it Taught Me

Basket of PassionflowerHerbalists recognize the wisdom of the earth’s ability to provide all that humanity needs when and where we need it and in direct proportion to our need. I’ve witnessed this miracle of healing and hope growing right beneath my feet.

I can’t talk about my life and my transformations without beginning with Passionflower.

Watch the weeds and herbs and you’ll soon see this is true. Nothing grows underfoot in your field or lawn without a purpose. God is in everything and everything is in HIM!

My first year gardening at here an elderly neighbor gave me a piece of passionflower. I didn’t know anything about it, but I loved the blossoms.   Every year this perennial vine returned to the places I planted it.  I had no idea the lessons it would teach me.

One year it grew out of control.  It choked out the clematis on my front porch rails.  It covered the front and side porch rails and filled the entire flower bed around the house.  It climbed the steps and ropes of it were going in my back door.  The vines left the beds and climbed up the siding and covered the screens of my lower level windows.  In the garden it left the fence and popped up in other garden beds several feet from the original planting.   I couldn’t understand why in this one year it had become so invasive.

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Meanwhile I asked the herbalist where I was taking classes.  “How do you keep your passionflower so neat and under control?”

“I don’t do anything to it.  I sell a lot of it but it stays compact on the arbor.”

When I explained my invasion she said, “hmm, maybe you need it.”

She didn’t tell me why, but I knew to go home and research the Passionflower.

What I read brought me to tears.  How could she know…no, she didn’t know. God knew. Passionflower knew!  The uses and benefits described my current condition.

That summer my heart was broken over issues with my estranged teenage daughter and a troubled marriage.  I was in a constant state of anxiety, fear and uneasiness.

That summer I worked feverishly growing vegetables,  medicinal and culinary herbs, and using them to make herbal medicines, infused vinegar, pesto, teas, and tinctures.   In my garden I found refuge and peace.

Herbalists also say that the benefit of the herb is not only in its medicinal constituents  but also in the physical act and ART of growing and harvesting them for yourself. 

That summer of extreme mental and emotional upheaval this vine got my attention because I needed it.  In the midst of my grief I worked, cried and sweated in my garden.  I harvested vines by the armfuls; hanging them over the clothes line, and laying them on racks inside to dry.  Compared to the volume I cut, a relatively small amount were needed to yield a gallon size jar of Passionflower Tincture.

Passionflower is a wonder herb!  It is a calming, natural sedative.  Well known to help with anxiety, insomnia, depression and high blood pressure.  It quiets an overthinking/overactive mind.  It calms the “tornadoes” of the mind that create circular, repetitive, over thinking and anxiety, and much more.  I take it daily for rest, stress and balance.  Google it for yourself.  Herbalist aren’t supposed to “make claims” about what herbs can do, however they do work.

But it’s more .  .  .  Passionflower is beautiful and persistent, relentless in its determination to produce fruit.  In subsequent years as my passionflower returned (never with the same urgency of that year) I saw myself and my family legacy in this vine’s behavior.

My marriage and family healed. IMAG0116 I healed.  My daughter returned.  She returned like passionflower far from where she started but just as beautiful and so much wiser and stronger.  Passionflower moves underground while tender green shoots pop up in strange new places every year.  Beneath the soil it is connected to its source by woody, thick invincible roots.

Those roots remind me of our family’s love, and the strength, courage and determination of the generations of women before before me.  Those roots keep us alive and connected to our source no matter how far away we go.

Rip the vine mercilessly from the ground and it will grow again, it will return stronger.

The women I come from have endured brokenness, injustice, discrimination, loss and pain but survived and thrived with grace. We are women who bend, but don’t break, who are uprooted but never killed, who relentlessly nurture to bring forth fruit . . . beautiful sweet life giving fruit!

That summer Passionflower tincture didn’t heal me and my family, it takes six weeks from drying before the tincture is finished.  Time, love and patience had to do that.  .  .  I believe my healing was in the intense focus on the work,  the daily physical exertion of tending the garden, the healing rays of the sun and the time outside listening to the God and the lessons His earth would teach me.   Now that’s Church! 

Passionflower Tincture remains a favorite in my “medicine chest”  I take it often for it’s calming benefits.

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