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Passion Flower: Natural Remedy For Insomnia And Stress

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Passion Flower: Natural Remedy For Insomnia And Stress

Insomnia and stress are two of the most common problems we face in the developed world today. Insomnia can be a mere nuisance for some, but for others it can represent a chronic struggle against sleeplessness. It often goes hand-in-hand with stress, which over time can trigger anxiety, burnout, and even physical illness if allowed to go untreated. Stress and insomnia cause fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, and impair performance at work and school. They also lower immune functioning, which in turn increases vulnerability to all kinds of maladies from the common cold up to serious and chronic illnesses. In other words, if you’re stressed out and can’t sleep, you need to find a solution. The best approach for long-term success is to change whatever life situation is making you anxious or sleepless, but sometimes this isn’t possible and a short-term solution is needed.

Passion Flower – A Simple, Natural Remedy

Antidepressants and sleeping aids are available from medical practitioners on prescription. However, some medications can trigger dependency and come with unpleasant side effects. For example, antidepressants can suppress libido and lead to gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, it is unsurprising that people often turn to more natural remedies when suffering insomnia and stress.

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Over the centuries, numerous plant-based medicines have been used to treat nervous mood states and sleeplessness. Contemporary research suggests that these ancient ideas have merit. For instance, a study published in the ‘Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics’ demonstrated that 45 daily drops of passion flower extract had a similar anti-anxiety effect compared with a daily 30mg dose of a common anti-anxiety drug. These findings are exciting not only because they show that passion flower can be almost as effective as prescription anti-anxiety medication, but because compared with the drug, passion flower caused no significant side effects.

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How Exactly Does Passion Flower Work?

At the moment, there is no absolute agreement on how passion flower works to alleviate stress and anxiety. However, one possible explanation is that passion flower contains natural chemicals common to many plants – flavonoids and alkaloids – that help regulate the brain’s neurotransmitters. These chemicals are responsible for mood regulation, sleep regulation, and much more besides – in fact, all human functions are reliant on appropriate neurotransmitter functionality. Re-balancing them is key to regaining a normal, relaxed mood and normal sleep/wake cycle. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, passion flower increases levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which triggers feelings of relaxation.

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How To Use Passion Flower

Passion flower is safe for most people to use. However, if you have an existing medical condition or you are taking any kind of medication, check with a suitably-qualified professional first before taking supplements of any kind. This is because although passion flower is a completely natural product, it may interact with some medications. For example, passion flower may interact with sedatives, greatly increasing their effects. This could be dangerous if you are driving, operating machinery, or are in any other situation in which it would be hazardous for you to suddenly feel tired or sleepy. Passion flower may also interact with blood thinning medications, amongst others, so always check with your doctor first.

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Passion flower is available in several forms. Always follow the instructions printed on the packaging, but the following are general guidelines from the University of Maryland Medical Centre. If you are taking passion flower as a tincture, use approximately 20 drops 3 times a day. If you would prefer to take it as a tea, you can brew a teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of freshly-boiled water for a few minutes before drinking. Take 3 cups per day. If you are using passion flower with the intention of treating insomnia, take one cup just before going to bed.

Featured photo credit: muratart via shutterstock.com

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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