Yesterday was Good Friday. Tomorrow is Easter! This weekend, I and millions of Christians around the world are celebrating the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. While you may think this has little to do with your health, it really does. In fact, a small plant named after the passion of Christ could be just what you need if you suffer from anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, or seizures.
A wonderful plant called the passion flower gets its name from its unique physical structure. Spanish missionaries in the 15th and 16th centuries thought that various parts of the plant symbolized the last days of Jesus, particularly his crucifixion. For instance, the flower's radial filaments, of which there can be more than a hundred, represented the crown of thorns. And the three stigmas represented the three nails.
The flower has a beautiful and intricate design that allowed the missionaries to tell the story of Jesus. But several studies say the flower also has the ability to calm your nerves during troubling times.
In the first study, researchers followed 41 participants between the ages of 18 and 35. They divided them into two groups that took either passion flower extract or a placebo for one week. After the first week, the researchers took the participants off all treatment for another week. Then, for the third week, they switched up the treatments. That makes this a very strong study. The researchers found that those taking the passion flower had significantly improved sleep compared to the placebo!
But what about anxiety? Another study followed 36 individuals and showed that passion flower may be just as powerful as the standard drug treatment for treating general anxiety disorders. The researchers compared the ability of passion flower to the drug oxazepam (Serax) for dealing with the symptoms of anxiety. They found that the passion flower was just as effective as the drug — and it didn't have any side effects. This particular drug can cause a host of side effects, including memory problems, agitation, and hostility (sounds like it makes the symptoms of anxiety even worse). One study found that passion flower does not negatively impact your memory like the drug can.
And yet another study followed 91 participants with anxiety. The researchers found that the passion flower had much better results than the placebos. And another study took these tests a little further. They looked at preoperative patients who took passion flower. They found that patients taking passion flower prior to surgery were less anxious about the procedure.
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So if you struggle with anxiety, insomnia, or nervousness, passion flower extract might be able to help calm your nerves and give you a great night's sleep. You can find passion flower in two products sold by Advanced Bionutritionals: Pure Sleep and Advanced Sleep Formula. Both are excellent products and can help you sleep. Advanced Sleep Formula has 200 mg of passion flower extract. And Pure Sleep has 110 mg in a daily dose. So if you have deep struggles with anxiety, I suggest you try the Advanced Sleep Formula, as it has a higher dose of passion flower.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
A final personal note: In the counseling I do, I find that religion is often a mixed bag when it comes to anxiety. For some people, it can cause anxiety. For others, it can completely and permanently relieve anxiety. What's the difference? For some people, religion is a set of rules that they have to live up to. When they can't, it causes anxiety and guilt. For others, they find "the peace that passes understanding" when they trust (and rest) in Jesus. So if you struggle with anxiety, please take this weekend to consider all that Jesus did on the cross. The Passion of Christ really does hold all that we need for true peace.
Akhondzadeh S, Naghavi HR, Vazirian M, Shayeganpour A, Rashidi H, Khani M. Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2001;26(5):369-373.
Barbosa PR, Valvassori SS, Bordignon CL Jr, Kappel VD, Martins MR, Gavioli EC, et al. The aqueous extracts of Passiflora alata and Passiflora edulis reduce anxiety-related behaviors without affecting memory process in rats. J Med Food. 2008 Jun;11(2):282-8.
British Medical Journal, February 27, 2012; Phytother Res. 2011 February 3. Published Online Ahead of Print.
Lakhan SE, Vieira KF. Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review. Nutr J. 2010;9:42.
Movafegh A, Alizadeh R, Hajimohamadi F, Esfehani F, Nejatfar M. Preoperative oral Passiflora incarnata reduces anxiety in ambulatory surgery patients: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Anesth Analg. 2008 Jun;106(6):1728-32.