Most of us are familiar with passion flower, a plant with beautiful flowers and edible fruits. There are many species of passion flower plants that are found in various parts of the world. While most of these plants are found to be vines, there are some shrubs too. These plants have long been used for medicinal purposes. While the fruits are edible, it is the roots and leaves of this plant that are used for their therapeutic properties. Even the flowers and stems are sometimes used for this purpose. As far as its medicinal use is concerned, this herb is popular as a calming herb for those with insomnia, anxiety, seizures and hysteria.
Passion Flower for Anxiety Relief
As mentioned above, passion flower is one of the herbs that have long been used by the native Americans as well as Europeans. Herbal tea is prepared from the leaves (fresh or dried) of these plants and this tea is said to have calming, sleep inducing as well as analgesic properties. It is also believed to be beneficial for relieving muscle spasms too. Nowadays, passiflora extract is available in the form of tincture, liquid extract, tea and infusion.
Apart from its use for treating anxiety and nervousness, passion flower extract is also used as a herbal medicine for various gastrointestinal ailments, asthma, palpitations, pain relief, fibromyalgia, hypertension, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and menopausal symptoms. It is also said to be useful in relieving symptoms of hemorrhoids and skin inflammation. Though there is no concrete evidence to prove the effectiveness of passion flower for anxiety, it is believed that the plant contains certain compounds that have a sedative effect in the central nervous system.
According to some researchers, the compounds in this plant works by raising the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Gamma-aminobutyric acid has the ability to lower the activity of certain brain cells, so that the cells get relaxed, thereby relieving anxiety and nervousness. The beneficial compounds in this herb include flavonoids like orientin, chrysin, vitexin and isovitexin.
Is Passion Flower Effective for Anxiety
Though, this herb is used for treating various ailments, it is said to be possibly effective for anxiety, insomnia and some anxiety-related conditions only. Till date, there is no evidence to prove its effectiveness in treating other medical conditions. Even its role in treating anxiety and insomnia is still being studied. Various studies and trials have been conducted till date and their results indicate the possible role of passion flower for anxiety relief. According to the study that was published in the 'Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics', the effect of passion flower has been compared to a prescription medication (oxazepam) for anxiety. As per this study, the effect of this herb was little bit slow as compared to oxazepam, but the former had lesser side effects.
To conclude, it can be said that passion flower may help you in relieving anxiety, if taken properly. Though, there is no conclusive evidence for this, most of the users vouch for the effectiveness of this herb in relieving nervousness. However, proper usage is always recommended. Its dosage may vary with individual condition as well as with the type of the product like tea, tincture, infusion and extract. As in case of any other herbal medicine, passion flower too must be used as per the expert guidance of a qualified herbal practitioner. Kids, pregnant and nursing women must avoid this herb.
Though it is considered safe, passion flower may sometimes cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, mental slowing and drowsiness. It may also cause drug interactions. So, inform your herbalist about your medical conditions as well as the current medications, before starting this herb. You may also seek the opinion of your doctor with regard to the use of passion flower for anxiety.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.