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Passiflora Incarnata & restful sleep

Passiflora The genus Passiflora contains over 500 species, known also as the passion flower or passion vine. Most are but some are shrubs, annuals, perennials and even trees. Some of the species produce fruits. Several of the species are native to Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand. Passiflora usually grows in tropical climates.

This amazing herb has been widely used for its health benefits. I will explain these benefits one at a time. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 40 million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety — roughly 18 percent of the nation's population.

Depression and anxiety disorders are not similar, but people with depression often experience similar symptoms to those of an anxiety disorder, such as nervousness, irritability,   insomnia and difficulty in concentrating. Anxiety and depression are a result of an imbalance of the brain chemicals, especially GABA GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID. Passiflora works by increasing levels of this chemical gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, the key brain chemical, therefore it helps in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

A restful sleep can break the vicious cycle of anxiety and depression. Sleep is important in maintaining good health because lack of sleep affects every function of the body. Passiflora can greatly enhance the quality of sleep. It has a calming effect on the neuronal activity of the brain helping the person to fall asleep, and to sleep more peacefully. In 2011, a double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation was conducted on the effects of passionflower herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. The results indicated a significantly higher rating for sleep quality in those consuming passionflower than in placebo group.

Studies have been conducted that show that passion flower can treat the vasomotor signs   of menopause. Symptoms of menopause include night sweats, hot flashes, mood fluctuations, and cognitive changes. A similar condition in men has recently been highlighted in the media called andropause or male menopause, is associated with the decrease in the male hormone testosterone. The common symptoms of male menopause include low sex drive, lack of energy, depression, irritability and mood swings. 

Passiflora helps in improving cognitive functions, especially concentration. It has also been implicated in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Although the passiflora has been used mainly for anxiety, depression, symptoms of female and male menopause and ADHD, there are others surprisingly good effects of passiflora on the human body. It helps in lowering blood pressure by reducing the stress on the body.  Now, as of 2017, the new guidelines for treating blood pressure are stricter. I believe this added benefit of passiflora is of great help in achieving this goal.

Passiflora helps in reducing the levels of insulin in the human body. It does this by increasing the body’s own level of sensitivity to insulin.  This then has an added benefit of lowering inflammation in the body, which is a key to longevity.