Passionflower is a climbing-like vine, native to the southeastern United States and Central and South America. People have used passionflower for medicinal purposes since the 16th century. There are around 550 different species of flowering plants (passionflower). Here's everything you need to know about passionflower.
Studies suggest passionflower supplements may help reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of menopause, ease insomnia and minimize certain forms of pain. Passionflower has shown the ability to increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a naturally occurring amino acid that works as an act alike neurotransmitter in your brain—neurotransmitters function as chemical messengers. GABA decreases activity in your nervous system which can result in a calming effect.
Clinical studies show that passionflower has anxiety-calming effects and can effectively help reduce anxiety levels. For example, in one clinical trial, researchers found passionflower had results similar to that of a prescription-based anti-anxiety medication. In fact, certain studies suggest passionflower may work as effectively as some anxiety prescription medication.
A 2016 clinical trial found that passionflower decreased anxiety and improved memory in the participants. Two other clinical trials found that passionflower has sedative effects. These effects could be due, in part, to passionflower interacting with GABA levels in the brain.
Numerous scientific studies suggest passionflower helps people sleep and can improve sleep quality and duration. Research in 2017 suggests that passionflower can have positive effects on sleep patterns.
One study, for example, found that passionflower significantly increased slow-wave (deep) sleep and reduced rapid eye movement sleep in participants. It was also reported that passionflower helped improve sleep quality and duration and allowed the participants to fall asleep more quickly. Another study found similar findings and reported, "passionflower reduced the time it took to fall asleep and increased duration of sleep."
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in Phytotherapy Research that had participants drink a daily dose of herbal tea with purpose passionflower for seven days reported improvements in their quality of sleep. The participants were also found to sleep longer and fell asleep faster.
Passionflower has shown the ability to help reduce symptoms of menopause in individuals. These symptoms include headaches, depression, insomnia, and anger. A recent study found that participants who consumed passionflower tea each day for 3-6 weeks experienced a significant reduction in menopause symptoms. More research may be needed, however, to confirm the effectiveness of passionflower in reducing symptoms of menopause.
Epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder is a neurological disorder, "marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain." A 2007 study indicated that taking passionflower increased the time between seizures and decreased duration. Additional research may be needed to confirm the effectiveness of passionflower for epilepsy but initial results seem promising.
Other members of the passionflower family may help soothe stomach problems. Passiflora foetida, commonly known as stinking passionflower has shown the ability to treat stomach ulcers. A study reported in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found that Passiflora foetida (passionflower) helped alleviate ulcers in rats. Passionflower also displayed antioxidant potential.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) categorizes passionflower as "safe," however, it may come with a couple of possible side effects. This includes:
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