The incredible flower of the passionflower is hard to miss — it’s showy display comes in so many vibrant color combinations there are entire textbooks dedicated to the many different types of passionflower.
This herb is one of the most reliable anxiolytic herbs in our arsenal.
The leaves and stems of the passionflower vine contain a series of MAO-inhibitor, GABAergic, and dopaminergic compounds that make it useful for many of the different underlying causes of anxiety and insomnia.
Passionflower is also an excellent muscle relaxant, hypotensive, and offers mild pain-killing effects for muscular pain.
Modern herbalists primarily use this herb in sleep formulas, and as a gentle anxiety aid for children or sensitive individuals.
Passionflower is used as a nervous system tonic for managing chronic stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
It’s gentle enough to use on children or frail individuals, but strong enough to provide a reliable set of benefits.
Some herbalists use passionflower as a mild antidepressant as well — mainly due to the MAO inhibitory effects.
Passionflower also offers notable muscle relaxant ability — which makes it great for athletes after a session at the gym. This effect, combined with the anxiolytic activity also makes it great for people who clench their jaws or experience tension headaches due to tight muscles in the shoulder and neck — especially when the source of the tension is stress-related.
Passionflower use dates back to the Archaic period (8000-2000B.C). It’s thought to have been used as both a food and medicine for early civilizations in North & Central America.
Passionflower is a very safe herb. There are rarely any side effects while using this herb. The most common side effect is sedation, which is also one of its benefits.
There have been several studies exploring the safety of using passionflower. One such study gave mice 2000 mg/kg of passionflower (this is way more than any reasonable dose), and there were no reported deaths or altered behavior.
There are some potential drug interactions with passionflower to pay attention to.
The MAO inhibitory effects of passionflower mean it could interact with drugs such as the benzodiazepines, SSRIs, or SNRIs.
The most common method of using this herb is in the form of a tea. Add a generous portion (2 – 3 grams) in a tea strainer, add water that hasn’t quite reached a boil (80 C) and cover (to limit evaporation of essential oils). Allow the tea to infuse for at least 10 minutes before drinking.
Tinctures can also be used. The dosage range for the standard 1:2 liquid extract of passionflower is 1 – 2 mL taken twice or three times per day.
The weekly dose of passionflower when making herbal blends is 15 – 40 mL.
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