Anxiety and depression are debilitating conditions that often negatively affect the sufferer’s daily functions and their quality of life. Use of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications is the most common way of keeping the symptoms of these conditions under control. However, there are alternative treatments which also help to relieve the symptoms when used together with more traditional methods. Two such options are passion flower and St. John’s Wort. Read on to know all about the benefits of the herbs, Passion Flower & St John’s Wort, for Anxiety & Depression.
What is Passion Flower & St. John’s Wort?
Passion flower, also known as passiflora, is a perennial tendril bearing vine, which can be either herbaceous or woody. Passion flower can grow as a small shrub or develop into a tall tree with a sturdy stem that can grow up to 32 feet in height. Originally, native to Mexico, and central and South America, passion flower is also found in USA, south-east Asia and the Oceania.
St John’s Wort is a perennial wild plant that grows in different regions throughout the world. While Passion flower is believed to be useful in relieving the symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and panic disorders, St John’s Wort is thought to treat various emotional problems like sleep problems, mild depression and lack of concentration. These herbs are mostly used in the form of herbal supplements.
What Are The Benefits Of Passion Flower & St. John’s Wort in Anxiety and Depression?
Scientists believe that certain properties of the passion flower help to calm the mind by increasing the level of the chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid, commonly known as GABA, in the brain. GABA works by reducing the activity of some brain cells to make the individual feel more relaxed.
St. John’s Wort is highly effective in treating the symptoms of mild depression. Studies prove that St. John’s Wort is more effective than placebos, and equally powerful as medicinal treatments for depression. Further, stress can also be relieved by taking both passion flower and St. John’s Wort together.
What are the Side Effects of Passion Flower & St. John’s Wort?
Although passion flower is usually considered to be a safe herb, few serious side effects of this herb have been reported in the past. In instances of side effects, the passion flower products used have hardly ever been tested for contamination, which may have been the actual cause of the ill-effect.
Passiflora fruit has been associated with dangerous side effects like cyanide poisoning, but this has still not been proven scientifically. Nausea, vomiting, rapid heart rhythm, mental slowing and drowsiness or sedation are some other potential side effects of passion flower. Theoretically, Passion flower spikes up the risk of bleeding and affects blood tests that are conducted to measure blood clotting.
The short term use of St. John’s Wort is least likely to cause any major side effects, but one may experience problems like confusion, dizziness and coordination issues. While the chances of occurrence of side effects from St. John’s Wort are relatively low, the people should take precautions when consuming this herb. Pregnant women or nursing mothers must never take Passion Flower & St John’s Wort. Patients should use maintain caution while operating heavy machinery or driving when taking these herbs.
What is the Recommended Dosage of Passion Flower & St John’s Wort for Treating Anxiety & Depression?
For best results, the one should consume 0.5 g to 2 g of passion flower in its dry state is, three to four times daily. The recommended intake of St. John’s Wort is 300 mg per day, either as tablet or in liquid extract form. These herbal products should be taken exactly as directed since their excess intake can cause adverse reactions.
Although these dosing instructions have proven to be most effective in relieving the symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia and other mental and emotional disorders, the use of St. John’s Wort and passion flower as dietary supplements has still not been approved by the FDA. One should always consult a physician before using either of these herbs.
Outlook on the Use of Passion Flower & St John’s Wort for Anxiety & Depression
Studies conducted on 91 people with anxiety symptoms has shown that compared to placebo, a herbal European product containing passion flower and other herbal sedatives decreased depression symptoms more effectively. Animal and human studies have also provided evidence which suggest that hyperforin present in the St. John’s Wort is responsible for raising the levels of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine in the body, which make it an effective treatment for anxiety and depression.
So far, minimal research has been carried out to prove the effectiveness of both passion flower and St. John’s Wort as treatments of depression and anxiety symptoms. However, there are some evidences which suggest that when taken under the proper guidance of a medical expert, both these herbs have helped to cure anxiety and depression considerably. It is important to remember that in case one experiences any side effects while taking these herbs, they must immediately discontinue using these products.
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