Is Passionflower good for anxiety?

Kate Harris
Trainee Herbalist, Reflexologist, Yoga Teacher, Writer & Product Trainer

08 April 2021

Is Passionflower good for anxiety?

The herb Passionflower (also known as Passiflora) has been used as far back as the Aztecs, for a variety of ailments including restlessness and anxiety. Today, science confirms this traditional use, proving that Passionflower is good for anxiety due to its cocktail of naturally occurring compounds called phytochemicals, which have calming effects on the mind, muscles, and the nervous system.

How Passionflower helps relieve anxiety

Passionflower's anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects are thought to be a result of high concentrations of a specific phytochemical cocktail found in the leaves and flowers. Let's take a look at how this natural combination can be good for anxiety:


Alkaloids, flavonoids, sterols, maltol and ethylmaltol, are just some of Passionflower's phytochemicals that have calming effects for the mind, muscles and nervous system.

GABA receptors

Passionflower's calming effects are increasingly recognised as working through GABA receptors. GABA acts as neurotransmitter in our body that can help calm our nervous system by reducing stimulating messages from the brain. If you suffer from anxiety, you will be all too familiar with those pinging messages that tend to occur around midnight while you are trying to sleep!


Additionally, Passionflower contains the alkaloid harmine. This is important for helping ease anxiety because of its effect on MAO inhibiters. That sounds complicated, but really it's quite simple: MAO is an enzyme that breaks down happy hormones like serotonin, dopamine and melatonin which regulates sleep. MAO inhibiters, like harmine, stop these from breaking down and keep them in your nerve fibres for longer. Keeping you happy and calm for longer too. MAO-inhibiting medications are used as anti-depressant medications for this reason.

How do I take Passionflower for anxiety?

Passionflower can be taken in the form of a tea, herbal liquid extract or tablet, as well as convenient sprays which you can use for on-the-go support. If drinking a tea, use one teaspoon to one cup of boiling water and leave to infuse for 5-10 minutes. If using a spray, tablets or liquid extract, follow the manufacturer's guidelines. Start with less and work up if needs be.
Herbs are renowned for their excellent team work. When paired together, certain herbs work even more effectively than on their own. That's why calming teas, liquid extracts, tablets and sprays often contain a combination of Passionflower alongside mutually supportive herbs like Lemon Balm, Avena Sativa or Valerian.
Herbal remedies can also pair nicely with nutritional supplements to support those with anxiety. Zinc and magnesium are well-known nutrients with positive effects for mood and managing stress.

What are the side effects of taking Passionflower?

Unlike pharmaceutical medicines, herbal remedies don't tend to have long lists of side effects. Passionflower is non-addictive and, when taking normal doses, shouldn't leave you feeling drowsy or in any way impaired. As with any medicine or supplement, pregnant or breastfeeding women and those on certain medications should be cautious, speak with their doctor and always follow manufacturer's instructions.


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