Passion Flower

Passion Flower is not only an exotically beautiful flower but it is also well known as a mild but effective herb that aids in the relief of anxiety, restlessness, and overthinking. Passion Flower is included in our Stress/Sleep Formula.

History of Passion Flower: 

Spanish missionaries learned about the medicinal benefits of this herb from the natives and named it Passion Flower in relation to the last stage of Christ’s life which is known as “The Passion”. The flower’s five petals and the sepals represented the 10 faithful apostles. The circle of hair-like rays above the petals resembled the crown of thorns and the vine’s tendrils represented the whips that were used on Christ. They felt like this plant was a good omen for their mission. The Aztecs cultivated Passion Flower and used it for many medicinal purposes. 

Uses of Passion Flower:

Many studies show it has an anti-anxiety effect and can invoke a sense of calm and relaxation. It has been shown to increase the quality of deep sleep, and reduce feelings of depression, anger, and the length of time it takes to fall asleep. Passion Flower is thought to affect GABA levels in the brain. 

What is Gaba? 

GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters act as a chemical messenger for the brain. The neurotransmitter GABA is important for balance in the brain and is responsible for slowing down the nerve impulses whenever we are in a stressful situation because it blocks certain brain signals and decreases activity in your nervous system. In other words, it’s basically like putting the brakes on for your brain when it’s going too fast. When there is a higher level of GABA present in the brain, there is less of a chance of overstimulation and a greater ability to be in a state of calm even during a stressful situation. 

According to WebMD, “Specifically, GABA deficiencies interfere with the most important stage of sleep — the “deep” delta sleep that usually begins within 45 minutes after bedtime. Studies show that people with depression, anxiety, and other disorders are usually deficient in delta sleep, says Doghramji, speaking at the American Medical Association’s annual Science Reporters Conference.

And the longer GABA-caused sleep problems continue, the greater the risk to your emotional health. One in three people with recurrent insomnia has some type of psychiatric disorder, and 25% have anxiety — nearly three times the rate of those whose insomnia is fleeting or has successfully been treated.

Even more serious psychiatric conditions are affected by sleep problems triggered by GABA problems. “When bipolar patients who are depressed are sleep deprived, there is a 50-50 chance they will go into a mania the next morning,” he tells WebMD.”

So there is a strong indication that GABA is very important to help to regulate mood, manage anxiety, and aid not only in sleep but the quality of sleep.

What else can you do to increase GABA levels? 

  1. Foods: Glumatic Acid helps to increase GABA levels in the brain so having a diet with high levels of Glumatic Acid can help. Some of these foods include bananas, almonds, walnuts, broccoli, brown rice, oats, potatoes, halibut, lentils, citrus, and spinach. 
  2. Foods to avoid:  Anything with artificial sweeteners and preservatives, and high levels of starchy carbs. 
  3. Supplements: Additional supplements that I personally take as part of my nightly routine is Magnesium Glycinate, L-Theanine, and L-Threonate. I take these about an hour before bed and then my Stress/Sleep Formula once I get into bed and about 10 minutes before I want to go to sleep. 
  4. Lifestyle: Yoga, Exercise, Meditation, deep breathing techniques, focus on managing stress levels.

Many times, problems with sleep and stress don’t happen overnight, its lifestyle, its diet, its mindset, it’s the environment we live in. What I hope to have shared with you in this article is how important all of these things are in your quest for overall health and wellness and how the herbs that are used in the Desert Willow Botanicals formulas can be your counterpart in this journey. 

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