Awhile back I was in a really tough place – I was smoking a lot of cigarettes, my meds weren’t working, I was about 100 pounds heavier, and things only seemed to be getting worse. This was around the time that I really started to develop a fascination with herbal remedies. Specifically, I was interested in any herbs – besides marijuana – that could reduce my anxiety symptoms or help me relax a little bit better.
While there are about 500 different species of passion flower, today I’m addressing the species known as passiflora incarnata – also known as purple passion flower or maypop.
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What is it?
Passion flower is just a plant, like sunflowers or anything else that you might grow in your garden. The difference, however, is that this plant has medicinal properties.
Passiflora Incarnata or purple passion flower is a plant with medicinal properties that can alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Click To Tweet
Where does it grow?
Passiflora Incarnata commonly grows in the Southeastern & Central United States.
What can it be used for?
This is a great plant to treat symptoms of insomnia, but you can also use passion flower for anxiety. Specifically, I’ve used the plant to reduce my shakes and ease my transition into a relaxing evening.
There aren’t a ton of studies regarding passion flower, though the few that exist suggest it can help those struggling to relax. Studies involving passiflora incarnata have shown the plant to decrease brain activity – which can be particularly helpful if you’re starting to freak out from a panic attack or trying to relax and go to bed.
One of the studies conducted involved patients scheduled for surgery. The study found that patients using passion flower had lower anxiety levels when compared to the other patients who had received a placebo.
For additional anxiety management techniques, see my article Five Breathing Exercises For Anxiety.
How do I take it?
Passion flower is available as a capsule or tablet. You can also just use the dry herb to make a relaxation tea or – if you’re a smoker – you can smoke the plant to receive the effects quicker.
For anyone reading that last line and going “Oh hell yeah, I’m gonna go smoke some passion flower” – again, you can’t just grab any strand of passion flower and roll it up, doing that will get you sick. Make sure you have passiflora incarnata.
What does it do?
My experience with passion flower seriously changed my perspective on managing anxiety. In the past, I had been on a ton of benzodiazepines and that was really all that I had to manage the panic attacks. I was getting roughly 40 to 50 panic attacks a day – from the beginning of the day anxiousness of getting out of the shower to the end of the day anxiousness of trying to sleep at night.
Passion flower changed that – because when I started to use passion flower for anxiety, my sleep was better and I was able to reduce my anxious jitters throughout the day. This really showed me that even with the severity of my illnesses, I didn’t necessarily need to be treating them with harsh drugs. Again, your own personal experience may vary, consult your Doctor first.
Passionflower has a calming & mildly sedating effect. This plant can help you slow down, particularly from racing thoughts & anxious jitters.
Passion flower has a calming & mildly sedating effect. This plant can help you slow down, particularly from racing thoughts & anxious jitters. Click To Tweet
Is it safe to take?
You should NOT consume passion flower if:
- You are pregnant or breast-feeding
- You are currently taking any type of sedative medication
You should of course consult your Doctor before making changes to your treatment plan and before consuming passion flower for anxiety. Having said that, the plant does have some side effects, such as dizziness and confusion. Sleepiness is also a side effect but if you’re using passion flower for anxiety or insomnia, that’s probably what you were going for. Other than that, passion flower is considered generally safe, though some variations of the species are mildly toxic.
What do I need to know about using passion flower for anxiety?
The plant is mild – it’s not a strong, harsh drug that messes up your memory or gives you rebound anxiety. It’s just a plant that has mildly sedating & calming effects. Having said that, it’s also not as simple as replacing your Benzo with passion flower. This plant isn’t as strong, and will not give you complete relief from severe anxiety.
Additionally, onset times vary. Particularly depending on how it’s consumed. In my own personal experience, you can expect the capsule to kick in after about 15 minutes, with the tea taking anywhere from 45 – 90 minutes to feel the effects.
Like all things I post about on this blog, using passion flower for anxiety is simply one more option to manage mental health, not a cure-all solution.
What’s your personal experience, Jon?
I used an herbal tea before bed at night, the capsule form for severe panic attacks, and I even smoked it for awhile. Needless to say, I have some experience with the plant.
The relaxation tea before bed was a great addition to my evening routine. Admittedly, this is something I’ve really been meaning to get back to.
Whether you’re using passion flower for anxiety or for insomnia, it’s a great plant to know about to manage your anxiety better. Just another great tool to keep in your arsenal!
Also, I’m not advocating smoking it, but a lot of people with anxiety smoke cigarettes too. I bring this up because you can start to replace some of your cigarette tobacco with passion flower if you’re trying to stop smoking.