They said and taught that the spear-head-shaped leaf symbolized the spearhead that pierced the side of Jesus while on the cross. The five anthers reminded them of the five wounds found in the hands, feet and side of Jesus. The spikes were represented by the triple style. The many threads radiating from the center of the flower suggested the crown of thorns. The fact that the flower remains open for three days reminded the faithful of the three years of the Christ's ministry on earth.
The passion flower seems to have been used to treat more symptoms than all other flowers together. The treatments have been used to treat seizures, hysteria, asthma, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, symptoms of menopause, ADHD, nervousness irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, pain, fibromyalgia, the skin around hemorrhoids and burns. Today the flower is still used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
Many early Americans brewed the woody vines for a tea that calmed their nerves.
One common name for the flower is May-pop, for when the edible fruit is stepped upon it will pop!
Helen Gray Cone (1859-1934) wrote the following:
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.