Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) leaves and roots are good for sleep. The herb’s flavonoids, particularly chrysin, a compound called maltol, and the amino acid GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) are likely at work here. GABA, also found in your brain, is a calming chemical that makes it easier for you to relax by not reacting to external stimuli. Some compounds in passionflower mimic GABA and work alongside it to pull the brakes on your anxiety and help you fall asleep.
A climbing vine with delicate flowers and juicy fruits, passionflower is one of Nature’s many “chill pills.” Its leaves and roots are home to relaxing compounds waiting to be tapped into.
Why It’s So Great
1. Induces Sleep
It’s funny how we’re always willing to compromise on sleep in the attempt to be more productive. Truth be told, we’ve got it backward. Depriving your body of sleep is depriving it of the fuel it needs to put on a good show. And now with so many distractions around, it’s not an anomaly to find yourself wishing bedtime was easier.
Passionflower can be a big help to your body as it tries to optimize sleep. Passionflower helps quieten your brain, making falling asleep less of an ordeal. The herb’s flavonoids, particularly chrysin, a compound called maltol, and the amino acid GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) are likely at work here.
- GABA is also found in your brain. It is a sleep-favoring signaling molecule that pumps the brakes on the central nervous system.
- When falling asleep, GABA sits at tailor-made seats (GABA A receptors) on brain cells, opening up adjoining chloride channels and welcoming in negative chloride ions from the outside. Becoming too negative on the inside, the brain cells then refuse to react to external stimuli. You feel calm and relaxed and sleep easily.
Passionflower’s components can sit on GABA A receptors, too, alongside GABA, opening up the chloride channels more often or for longer. Even more negative ions move into brain cells, and you drift into a slumber even sooner!
2. Helps Reduce Anxiety
Anxiety or worry is not a natural state of being. Which is why your body has a store of chemicals to calm you down and help you cope – like GABA. Passionflower helps by activating the GABA A receptors to soothe your nerves and keep anxiety at bay.
The best part about relying on a herbal supplement is that it’s not addictive – unlike many conventional pills. You don’t have to worry about side effects as long as you don’t get overambitious with it – follow the mantra “less is more.”
Stick to consuming 0.5–1 gm of the dried herb powder up to 3–4 times a day. If tea is more your style, add about a teaspoon of the dried herb to a cup of boiling water and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. Drink this 2–3 times a day.