Sleep Support with Passionflower
Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) is a climbing shrub native to the tropical parts of the United States which produces a beautiful, delicate flower that develops into a large, fleshy fruit. Traditional herbalists enjoy a number of passion flower benefits, using it, for example, as a sleep aid, especially when patients complained of restlessness and interrupted sleep due to exhaustion.
Recent clinical trials using passion flower show it is also one of the most valuable and effective herbal anxiety remedies in addition to its usefulness in improving sleep and treating insomnia.
PASSION FLOWER STRESS RELIEF
Passion flower is a safe herbal remedy for children and teens as well as adults. Accomplished herbalist and naturopathic physician, Dr. Mary Bove, endorses passion flower for stress in children. Dr. Bove is the author of the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants and is considered an authoritative reference on natural pediatric medicine.
“Mayan healers recognized passion flower’s special usefulness in children, and traditionally employed the herb to support restful sleep, calm emotional reactivity and ease muscle twitching in kids. Today, herbalists frequently recommend passion flower as a first defense against nervousness and difficulty sleeping in teenagers,” says Dr. Bove. (Read more about anxiety here.)
Research on Passion Flower Benefits for Sleep
Studies have also found that one of the benefits of passion flower is improving sleep quality and can be an effective treatment for insomnia. In one study, 41 subjects drank passion flower tea or placebo tea every night for a week before going to sleep. Sleep quality was rated as significantly better in those drinking passion flower tea compared to those drinking placebo tea.
Passion flower may be even more effective for insomnia when combined with other herbs. The combination of passion flower, valerian, hops, and lemon balm is a common formula used by naturopathic physicians for inducing sleep.
One double-blind, randomized, controlled trial compared the drug zolpidem (Ambien) to a combination of passion flower, valerian, and hops extracts in patients diagnosed with insomnia. For two weeks, 78 subjects were treated with either one tablet of the passion flower combination or a standard dose of zolpidem at bedtime.
Insomnia improved equally in both groups, with significant improvements in total sleep time, time taken to initially fall asleep, number of nightly awakenings, and insomnia severity scores in both groups. The study authors concluded that the combination of passion flower, valerian, and hops extracts “…is a safe and effective short-term alternative to zolpidem for primary insomnia.”
If you want to try a passion flower supplement for anxiety, a tincture (liquid alcohol extract) or passion flower tablets are recommended. To use passion flower for sleep, look for it combined with hops and valerian, and possibly with lemon balm as well. Since these preparations are sold in various strengths, take the dose recommended on the bottle as a starting dose.
Stress, anxiety, and poor sleep don’t have to rule your life. You can get these problems under control with natural medicine. In many cases, a more comprehensive approach, using other nutrients, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes will enhance the effectiveness of herbal anxiety remedies like passion flower.