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How Does Passion Flower Help Me Relax ?

old message How Does Passion Flower Help Me Relax ? Darrell Miller 04/07/11


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Date: April 07, 2011 01:39 PM
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Subject: How Does Passion Flower Help Me Relax ?

Passion flower refers to a group of flowering plants that belongs to the genus Passiflora, comprising of up to 500 species. The commonly known plant species of Passiflora are climbing vines with a woody stem system although there are a few herbaceous shrubs. They are found across the globe with the exception of arctic and sub-Saharan regions and easily recognizable by their unique flower structure which often contains prominent styles and stamens. Passiflora incarnata, or more commonly known as Maypop in the vernacular, has a long association with folk medicine of American Indians, who use various parts of the plant as a relaxant.

Different species of Passiflora are called different names, but the trivial name passion flower pertains to the corona that resembles the crown of thorns worn by Jesus. Moreover, the Christians have ascribed many symbolisms for the intricate parts of the flower. For example, the ovary is believed to represent the Holy Grail. Early European settlers in the Americas discovered the calming effects of teas made from Passiflora species through the Indians, and popularized its use against anxiety soon after in Europe.

Produces Tranquilizing Effects

Several studies have investigated the effects of passion flower on human health, with a few comparing it to the drug exazepam. Its mechanism of action is still under scrutiny, but scientists are convinced that its sedative effects are very similar to the herbs Valeriana officinalis and Piper methysticum. More often than not, it is used in combination with these two herbs. As a mild relaxant with a slow onset of action, Passiflora incarnata, or Maypop, have been documented to benefit individuals suffering from irritability, insomnia, and agitation. In conjunction with a drug called clonidine, it also appears to relieve muscle tremors.

Increases Inhibitory Brain Chemicals

It has long been postulated that passion flower works on the principle of raising the levels of inhibitory neurotransmitters, such as gamma-aminobutryric acid, or GABA. Glutamic acid, the biological precursor of gamma-aminobutyric acid, has been linked to neuronal excitotoxicity that leads to many known diseases of the nervous system. By aiding the metabolic pathway responsible for converting glutamate into gamma-aminobutyric acid, passion flower not only increases the amounts of the chief inhibitory brain chemicals in the human brain and the rest of the central nervous system, but also lowers the levels of excitatory neurotransmitters. This results in a drop in neuronal activities and a reduced risk of excitotoxicity, which translated into a more relaxed feeling.

Alleviates Physical Fatigue

Passion flower is known to counter the harmful effects of stress. In addition to alleviating psychiatric symptoms of anxiety, Passiflora incarnata has also been tied to the treatment of muscle weakness characteristic of fibromyalgia. It is one of the herbal nervines used in combination with other herbal adaptogens in combating physical fatigue due to long hours at work and the consequent sleep deprivation. Fortunately, passion flower is generally considered safe and nontoxic, with dosages equivalent to food proportions in general.

Passion flower can be taken with valerian and skull cap to help calm the mind and body when under intense stress. Give it a try and See for yourself!






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