What is Passionflower?
This beautiful purple passionflower is known as an ornamental flower, but it has been well-acclaimed as an effective herbal medicine in cultures around the world for centuries.
The Aztecs of Mexico and South America used passionflower as a sedative and nerve tonic. And then the Spanish explorers took it back to Europe.
Passionflower is mostly known to deal with neurological conditions, especially anxiety, insomnia, and addiction.
1 – Passionflower and Anxiety
Passionflower is as effective as oxazepam in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.
Researchers found that both passionflower and oxazepam were equally effective in managing anxiety symptoms when administrated over four weeks. (1)
In fact, passionflower was considered to be superior as therapy because of a lower incidence of adverse side effects.
Passionflower was also proven effective in treating patients undergoing anxiety-provoking surgical procedures.
Patients undergoing surgery had decreased anxiety scores 10 minutes and 30 minutes after receiving a single oral dose of passionflower. What’s more, they didn’t experience any side effects, which is a significant consideration in the presurgical situation. (2)
2 – Passionflower and Insomnia
Sleep is a complex interplay of hormones, neurotransmitters, and circadian rhythms in the brain.
Insomnia is also an equally complex process, with many potential causes and associated medical conditions. It is common among people suffering from anxiety and depression.
Passionflower offers a way to impact the GABA receptor (the inhibitory calming neurotransmitter) in the brain and enhance sleep without harmful side effects or development of tolerance.
GABA is a prominent ingredient in the aerial parts of the passionflower plant. Not only does passionflower contain a high amount of GABA, but it is also able to bind to GABA receptors and lead to a suppression of the hyperarousal state associated with insomnia. (3)
The impact that passionflower exhibits on the GABA system of the brain are promising as non-addictive support for individuals with insomnia without the residual morning sedation associated with benzodiazepine and other psychoactive drugs.
3 – Passionflower and Stomach
Passiflora foetida, commonly known as stinking passionflower, can help treat stomach problems.
In one study, researchers examined its potential for treating stomach ulcers. Passionflower helped alleviate ulcers in rats. On top of that, it showed antioxidant potential. (4)
In another study, scientists created an extract from its leaves and stems. This extract also showed promise for treating ulcers in rats. (5)
Safety and Side Effects
Passionflower is classified as “generally regarded as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration. It does not interact with most medications.
Passionflower is more than an ornamental flower; it is a botanical medicine with a long history and a promising future.
It is effective as well as it is safe in treating anxiety, insomnia, and even addiction.
And it is a better solution than many psychoactive drugs.