Learning More About Anxiety

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Passion Flower - Anti-Anxiety and Anti-Stress Support

Passiflora Incarnata, commonly called Passion Flower, is traditionally prescribed as a complementary and alternative medicine for emotional distress related to anxiety or nervousness.

The above ground, or aerial, portions of Passion Flower are well know for there natural sedative and anxiolytic properties. The most well known and studied constituents in passion flower are vitexin, chrysin, orientin and isovitexin, all of which are believed to contribute to passion flower's synergistic, anti-anxiety effects.

Based on pharmacological data, the experiences of traditional use and the use in combinations, Passiflora extracts are an important factor in the phytotherapy of tenseness, restlessness and irritability with difficulty in falling asleep. Many pharmacological investigations have been able to confirm the sedative effects

In clinical tests, chrysin has been shown to possess anxiolytic activity without inducing sedation or muscle relaxation. And, though the exact mechanism of chrysin's action is not yet known, researchers believe that this natural monoflavonoid is an agonist of the central benzodiazepine receptors in the brain.

One multi center, double-blind, placebo controlled study with patients who experienced anxious mood and symptoms of anxiety as measured by the HAM-A suggests that Passion Flower was superior to placebo (in combination with Valerian) and confirmed its effectiveness as an anxiolytic. The study was conducted over a period of twenty-eight days.

A subsequent study published in the Journal of clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics involved patients who were diagnosed with generalized anxiety. Over a four week period, 38 patients took either Passiflora extract or Oxazepam, a medication used to treat anxiety. The study concluded that the effectiveness of Passiflora extract as an anxiolytic agent was very similar to that of the benzodiazepine, Oxazepam. While this was only a preliminary general practice trial, researchers recommend further clinical trials involving passiflora for the relief of anxiety, as well as for relieving symptoms often associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal.

Passion flower also has an excellent safety profile as a complimentary medicine and has been classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) for human consumption by the US Food and Drug Administration.

**NOTE - Passion flower should not be taken as a treatment for Anxiety. Passion flower is a dietary supplement that can provide some level of emotional support, but only a qualified medical professional can diagnose and treat anxiety related disorder.




Adapted with permission from The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH is a component of the National Institutes of Health, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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