Spotlight on: Passionflower
Passiflora incarnata - although you may know it better as Passionflower - would have to be arguably one of the prettiest herbs out.
I mean... Look at it...
Apart from being visually stunning, Passionflower is a rapid anxiolytic. It has the ability to decrease levels of anxiety within 30 minutes, with its effects being felt after just 10. In fact, it compares favourably to the anti-anxiety drug, benzodiazepine, in that it is just as effective in reducing anxiety, but without the problems associated with being able to drive or perform work or any of those (pretty important) things.
Passiflora was used by the Aztecs as a sedative and analgesic to induce sedation, thereby alleviating irritation or over-excitement, and to reduce and relieve pain.
And it's still used for similar reasons today. Passionflower is prescribed in cases of insomnia, anxiety, irritability, palpitations, tension headaches and even addiction. It has been found to be an effective anxiolytic (aka reliever of anxiety), spasmolytic, sedative and hypnotic.
Perhaps its most popular indication is insomnia. Insomnia is characterised by a difficulty falling asleep, and/or difficulty staying asleep (waking up frequently or too early). It is a condition affecting up to a massive 30% of the population!
Dried Passionflower tea, consumed 45 minutes before bed, is recommended for insomniacs. Which is why Passionflower features in our Sleepy Tea!
References: Metagenics Functional Psychiatry seminar 2016, 'The Ultimate Herbal Compendium' by K Bone & 'The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine' by J Pizzorno, M Murray, H Joiner-Bey.