Feeling Anxious? Passionflower Can Calm You Down

October 1, 2011
Bottom Line Natural Healing
Mark A. Stengler, NMD

Its name suggests an aphrodisiac, but passionflower is more effective for relaxation than arousal. This herb helps people feel less anxious…sleep better…and generally feel calmer. The reason passionflower helps people relax is because it increases the brain’s levels of gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that turns down the volume of activity in the emotional center of the brain. You can take passionflower in supplement form—or you can drink it as an herbal infusion. Find out how passionflower can help you…

Insomnia. Australian researchers found that adults who drank a warm herbal infusion of passionflower before bed felt refreshed and alert upon waking, compared with those drinking a placebo tea.

Anxiety. Passionflower can help you relax without causing drowsiness, which makes it particularly good as a daytime remedy. How can a remedy that helps you sleep also enable you to stay awake? That’s one of the great things about passionflower—it enhances (instead of works against) the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle.

PMS and menopause. Passionflower can help to relieve PMS symptoms and menopausal symptoms of anxiety and irritability.

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High blood pressure. Passionflower is known to reduce high blood pressure associated with stress and anxiety.

How to use it: For patients who want relief from the conditions above, you can try passionflower in capsule form (follow label instructions). It also can be taken as a tincture (20 to 30 drops)…or as an herbal infusion (one teaspoon of dried passionflower leaves steeped in three ounces of water) taken two to three times daily. Women who are pregnant should not use passionflower. It should not be taken with pharmaceutical sedatives because it may increase their effect.