Helps with Anxiety and Depression without making you drowsy
Chinese Name: Xi Fan Lian西番蓮
Scientific Name: Passiflora incarnate
Passionflower is not native to China; however it has come into common use in many Chinese herbal formulas and on its own as a treatment for anxiety and some forms of depression.
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that passionflower has shown to work as well as some of the benzodiazepine medications that are usually prescribed for treating anxiety. A four-week double-blind study, for compared passionflower with oxazepam the results showed oxazepam worked more quickly, but by the end of the study both treatments were shown to be equally effective.
Side effects like daytime drowsiness were not seen as with prescription drugs when using passionflower. A second study also showed that passionflower helped ease symptoms like anxiety, irritability, agitation, and depression in participants going through withdrawal from an opiate drug addiction.
Another study reported in the June 2008 issue of “Anesthesia and Analgesia” found that when surgical outpatients were given passionflower, they showed decreased anxiety but had full capacity of motor skills. Researchers go on to recommend passionflower as a “pre-medication” treatment. Passionflower is available as a supplement in the form of a liquid tincture or a tea.
Passionflower is believed to increase levels of GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid). GABA regulates the excitability of neurons in the brain. GABA is also suspected to regulate the production of melatonin, which is related to healthy sleep. And, since GABA is responsible for the regulation of muscle tone, passionflower is believed to reduce muscle tension.
Recommended Dosage: Try one cup of commercially available passionflower tea three times daily. You should use about 45 drops of liquid extract daily, or about 90 mg/day.
Passionflower can be grown in your back yard.
Maypop (P. incarnata) is a common species of Passion Flower in the southeastern US. Unlike the more tropical cousins, this species is hardy enough to withstand the cold down to −20 °C (−4 °F) before its roots die. It is native as far north as Pennsylvania and has been cultivated as far north as Boston and Chicago.) The fruit is sweet, yellowish, and roughly the size of a chicken’s egg; it enjoys some popularity as a native plant with edible fruit and few pests. This was the variety used in tests for anxiety in studies done at a University Of Maryland Medical Center in 2001.
How To Make A Tincture of Passionflower
To make a tincture of passionflower, the leaves, vines, and flower buds are used. Try to harvest at the early flowering stage for the greatest potency. If using fresh, use a ratio of one part plant material to 2 parts menstruum (liquid used to extract the potent compounds from the herb) (1:2). A recommended menstruum is usually food-grade alcohol, and that’s what I do, although glycerin and vinegar are sometimes used.
It is recommended to use a ratio of 75% grain alcohol and 25% water.
1. Chop the plant parts and weigh them. For 2 ounces passionflower, for example, use 3 oz. grain alcohol and 1 oz. water, preferably distilled water. Place the passionflower and the menstruum in a blender and combine.
2. Pour into a glass container, add a lid, label with date and name of plant and leave in a dark, cool place.
3. Shake it daily for two weeks.
4. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth and squeeze out as much as you can.
5. Leave it to settle overnight, then pour off the clear liquid on the top (decant). Store in a dark glass container such as an amber glass bottle, tightly capped, in a cool, dark place.
Dosage: Adults, 1-2 droppers, 3-5 times daily. Take in a small amount of water.
Seniors use the lesser amounts.
Properly stored, tinctures are considered to last indefinitely, or for quite a long time.
You can be less finicky about all this if you like, and simply cover the chopped plant parts with 80 proof vodka, leave for a few weeks, strain, and store in a dark place.
There are many herbs reported to treat anxiety, but not all are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). If you plan to add herbs like Passionflower to your daily routine, consult your physician first, especially if you are currently on any medication because herbs are powerful substances and can alter the effects of prescription drugs. When choosing any herbal remedy, always follow the dosage instructions on the label or consult a qualified herbalist for directions on how to use the plant safely and correctly. The authors of this article make no claims or specific recommendations for treating any illness. This information is provided as a source of knowledge based on current published findings by recognized experts in the field.