Passion flower was used traditionally in the Americas and later in Europe as a calming herb for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hysteria. It is still used today to treat anxiety and insomnia.
It is a woody vine with flowers which reminded early pilgrims of the passion or suffering of Christ. The plant produces small fruit called granadilla or water lemon. The aerial parts of the plant are gathered during fruiting season and then dried for future processing.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
It is not known exactly how passionflower works, but it has been suggested that, chrysin, one of the flavonoids in passion flower, calms the nerves and reduce anxiety (one of the co-morbidity of ADHD) by increasing levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.
GABA calms your nerves and makes you feel relaxed by suppressing the activities in parts of the brain. It is the main inhibiting neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and controls the excitability throughout the nervous system.
GABA is made the brain, but it does not cross the blood-brain barrier. It is made from glutamate in the metabolic pathway called the GABA shunt. The enzyme involved in this conversion is L-glutamic acid decarboxylase, and pyridoxal phosphate, the active form of vitamin B6 is the cofactor. The GABA shunt converts glutamate, the principal “excitatory” neurotransmitter, into the principal “inhibitory” neurotransmitter (GABA).
Long-term use of passion flower may potentially cause fatigue and mental fogginess due to depression of central nervous system. Start with a low dose several times a day and increase as you learn how you respond to passionflower.
The following are general guidelines for use by adults. I strongly encourage you to speak to your primary care provider for more specific recommendations:
* Tea: Steep 0.5 – 2 g (about 1 tsp.) of dried herb in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes; strain and cool.
For anxiety, drink 3 – 4 cups per day.
For insomnia, drink one cup an hour before going to bed.
* Extracts (1:1 in 25% alcohol): 10 – 20 drops, 2-3 times a day
* Tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol): 10 – 45 drops, 2-3 times a day
No studies have examined the effects of passionflower in children, so do not give passionflower to a child without a doctor’s supervision. Adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child’s weight.
Passionflower is generally considered to be safe when used in moderation. However, it should not be used by pregnant women or children under the age of two due to lack of studies/research in these population. Do not take passion flower if you are already taking prescription medication for anxiety or depression, as excessive sleepiness has been reported. Please consult your primary care physician before using passionflower.
Get your passion flower extract here…