Anxiety problems are quite common these days. The problem with medications is that they cause dependence, which is why people are looking for supplements and other natural solutions. That is where passionflower aerial extract and other herbal ingredients come into play.
Is it worth adding passionflower to a formula combatting anxiety? Can it help you to feel better?
You can find scientific studies that claim this herb has both anxiolytic and antidepressant characteristics. We looked for evidence related to passionflower and various mental disorders, and here is what we found!
Passionflower Herb – What You Should Know About It
Passionflower is an intriguing plant with various potential benefits. The common name marks an entire genus of herbs that includes more than 500 species. The scientific name for this group is Passiflora incarnata Linnaeus.
The preferable regions for growing passionflower include South and Central America. You can also find it in Australia, Southeast Asia, and North America, although it is not that common. However, the use of passionflower is widespread throughout the world. Depending on the region, the plant is a popular choice as an analgesic, and it also has soothing and anti-spasmodic characteristics.
In this article, we are focusing on the correlation between passionflower and anxiety. The potential anxiolytic properties of this herb are because of the way it interacts with the GABAergic system. The working process is similar to other plants with anxiolytic properties, such as skullcap or ashwagandha.
What Sparked Passionflowers Studies
The mechanisms of actions were the topic of a study conducted in 2008. The researchers used the elevated maze test in rats to demonstrate the effectiveness of the passionflower. At the time, this was the first evidence that the anxiolytic properties of this plant are delivered by modulating GABA.
It is interesting to note that the scientists noticed significant anxiolytic properties of passionflower in this study. They pinpoint you can compare the results to the one delivered by an antidepressant called diazepam. That suggests passionflower aerial extract could be useful both as an alternative to antidepressant and anxiolytic medications and as an additional treatment.
Scientific Studies on Passionflower and Anxiety
Research Study 1 (Passionflower & Anxiety)
The researchers have been working on studying the potential anxiolytic properties of passionflower for decades. It was in 2001 when they published a study focusing on generalized anxiety and the role of this herb in treating it. The trial focused on patients receiving oxazepam and Passiflora incarnata for treating GAD.
The researchers picked 36 patients for the study. Half of them were given the passionflower extract, and the other half received a placebo and oxazepam.
After four weeks, the results showed that both the herbal treatment and medication could be effective in treating anxiety.
Oxazepam had an accelerated onset of action, but the subjects reported problems in their jobs. According to them, impaired job performance was noted compared to before taking the medication.
As for passionflower, it showed insignificant levels of affecting job performance. Although it is a small-scale trial, this herb proved to be effective and safe in managing anxiety disorders.
Research Study 2 (Passionflower & Anxiety)
What about using Passiflora incarnata as an additional treatment to existing anxiety medications? That was the topic of the study published in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry in 2016. The trial included 30 adult patients that didn’t have more than 50 years old at the time of the study. They all exhibited GAD and agreed on using sertraline and passionflower as an add-on treatment to it.
The researchers asked all participants to consume sertraline in various dosages for several weeks. A portion of volunteers received passionflower while others got a placebo with sertraline.
The results showed that the participants who consumed the herbal extract showed reduced errors during auditory omission tests.
Research Study 3 (Passionflower & Anxiety)
In 1997, another study used a herbal mixture to assess its effectiveness in treating anxiousness. The research involved 182 patients divided into a placebo group and one that was receiving a herbal blend. The mixture included passionflower, valerian, and other plants with sedative properties, and a couple of herbs that work as mild stimulants.
The results after four weeks showed a significant decrease in the Hamilton Anxiety Rating scale among the patients who consumed the herbal mixture.
More than 40% of the participants got a score under “10” on the scale, and that was achieved by only 25% of the participants from the placebo group.
Research Study 4 (Passionflower & Depression & Stress)
Stress can be both acute and chronic. Unfortunately, the high-paced life, challenging jobs, and other expectations cause individuals to feel stressed often. Stress goes hand in hand with anxiety, and those can sometimes lead to depression. Passionflower might be capable of helping by acting as an antidepressant.
Journal of Herbmed Pharmacology published an interesting evaluation of the antidepressant properties of this herb.
They conducted a study on mice and showed that passionflower extract could assist in dealing with depression-related symptoms.
Research Study 5 (Passionflower & Depression)
Chinese researchers also confirmed the capability of passionflower to exhibit antidepressant activity.
According to them, it was because of cycloartane triterpenoid. It is a compound found in this plant that has antidepressant characteristics.
Research Study 6 (Passionflower & Depression)
The scientists often argue that GABA neurotransmitter is related to depression. To be precise, they believe the lack of this compound can cause depression-like behavior. A study focused on postmenopausal women confirmed that hypothesis.
According to its results, women dealing with depression after menopause experience significantly lower GABA levels than the other women participating in the study.
Passionflower remains a popular solution for providing anxiety and stress relief, and with a good reason. It can help you to feel calmer and better overall.