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Registered Medical Herbalist
Luzia Barclay
Tel: 01722 330663

The Passionflower in my garden

This summer the passionflower in my little South facing garden in Salisbury went wild.

It expanded into my neighbour’s garden and I don’t know where it went from there.

It is still flowering and it still bears fruit.

I have spent many happy hours watching bees and bumble bees climbing across the amazingly shaped flowers collecting pollen and nectar and felt grateful for the invention of digital cameras.
Have you ever eaten the fruit of this plant? It has a subtle sweet taste. The exotic name of the fruit is maracuja. The edible part of the fruit is surrounded by a soft outer skin which can easily be cut.

For centuries the passionflower has been used to treat symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, restlessness and nervous tension.

In the last ten years the efficacy of this plant has been formally studied and this confirmed its use for stress-related symptoms.

Studies show that passiflora incarnata has a positive effect on the GABA levels in the brain.

This neurotransmitter has a calming effect on the central nervous system.

Benzodiazepines like Diazepam, Lorazepam etc have a similar effect but they can lead to addiction. Longterm use of Diazepams is very controversial because of adverse psychological and physical side effects.

Passionflower however does not lead to addiction.

A double-blind study compared the effect of passionflower with that of the benzodiazepam oxazepam.

The study showed that both passion flower and oxazepam significantly reduced anxiety in the participants.

Oxazepam reduced anxiety faster than passion flower. However, oxazepam interfered with motor and mental performances, while passionflower was suitable for people who want to overcome anxiety, be mentally and physically relaxed yet alert to get on with their life.

Passionflower is a safe and effective alternative to benzodiazepines.

It helps with symptoms of restlessness, anxiety and insomnia without leading to addiction.

A tincture can be used or an infusion using the dried herb, leaves and stem.