Passionflower for Anxiety and Sleep Difficulties

Passionflower has calming, soothing, and mildly sedative effects. It may relieve your anxiety, improve the quality of your sleep, and uplift your mood.

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a perennial vine native to the area from the southeastern parts of USA to Argentina and Brazil. It has also been cultivated in Europe and other parts of the world. In 1569, Spanish explorers discovered it in Peru. They probably named it after the Passion of Christ, because they thought that its flowers contain parts that look like a cross and a crown of thorn.

The native American people have used the flowers, leaves and stems of this vine to treat anxiety, sleeplessness, epilepsy, and hysteria for hundreds of years. Today passionflower extract is one of the best herbal remedies for anxiety available. Dietary supplements for anxiety, insomnia, or mood disorders often combine it with other herbs for anxiety. A double-blind, randomized controlled study indicated that passionflower extract is as effective as oxazepam (a synthetic anti-anxiety medication) for the management of generalized anxiety disorder. Unlike oxazepam, passionflower extract has a low incidence of impairment of job performance.

The following pictures show a passionflower vine and a passionflower: -

Passionflower Vine
Passionflower Vine (Passiflora incarnata)

Passion Flower

Botanical Name

Passiflora incarnata.

Common Names

Passionflower, passion flower, true passionflower, purple passionflower, maypop, wild passion vine, wild apricot, water lemon, corona de Cristo, passionaria, etc.

Uses of Passionflower

Both fresh and dried parts of the passionflower plant are used as a herbal remedy for anxiety and insomnia. It has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system. It improves mood and the subjective quality of sleep. It helps withdrawal symptoms experienced by people who have quit benzodiazepines, alcohol, or smoking. It is also used for treating palpitations, high blood pressure, pain, asthma, seizures, symptoms of menopause, hysteria, nervousness and excitability. Some kinds of this plant bear an edible fruit that is used in jams and jellies.

Active Substances - What Does Passionflower Contain?

The extract of the passionflower contains flavonoids, alkaloids, saparin, chrysin, and dozens of other compounds. Chrysin, a naturally occurring flavone has anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and blood-pressure lowering properties. It also contains certain alkaloids that are monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs or MAO inhibitors) with anti-depressant properties.

Mechanism of Action - How Does Passionflower Work for Anxiety?

Passionflower extract has calming, soothing, and mildly sedative effects. The extract contains dozens of phytochemicals, and their synergy or mutual interaction is thought to be responsible for the herb's therapeutic effects.

Some researchers believe that it reduces anxiety and insomnia by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) present in the synaptic clefts of neurons (brain cells). Substances that mimic the action of GABA or increase its available amount in the central nervous system have relaxing, anti-anxiety, anti-convulsive, and sedative effects.

What are the Side Effects of Passionflower for Anxiety?

Passionflower for anxiety, insomnia, and mood disorders is generally well tolerated and has mild side-effects. Large doses may cause drowsiness, dizziness, altered consciousness, confusion, irregular muscle coordination, vomiting and inflamed blood vessels.

Interactions - Things to Avoid While Taking Passionflower for Anxiety

Passionflower can increase the sedative effects of substances that cause drowsiness. Avoid taking passionflower supplements along with sedatives, tranquilizers, alcohol, anti-anxiety medications, narcotic pain relievers, psychiatric medicines, anti-seizure drugs, muscle relaxants, antihistamines, cough and cold preparations, blood-thinners or anti-coagulants, and anti-depressants especially synthetic monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO inhibitors or MAOIs).

Contraindications - Who Should Not Take Passionflower?

Pregnant or breast-feeding women should not use passionflower for anxiety, sleeplessness, or mood disorders.

Special Precautions

In case you feel drowsy, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery that requires you to be alert.

References: View

Disclaimer: The information present on this website is not a substitute for expert medical advice. For the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of any illness, please consult a doctor. The owner of this website is not liable for any adverse consequences, whatsoever...More>>

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