3. Passion Flower
Native to southeastern parts of North America, extracts of passion flower have been used medicinally in traditional herbal medical practices for generations to help treat various psychological problems, including what we now call anxiety. Herbal preparations of passion flower contain extracts of the flowers, leaves and stems of the plant.
So far, there is limited robust evidence into the effectiveness of passion flower tinctures and supplements for anxiety. But some evidence exists that they could be beneficial for mild anxiety. One study found that one possible way it can do this is by possessing the ability to increase levels of dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is a feel-good hormone and neurotransmitter that triggers the pleasure and reward centre of the brain and has a positive effect on memory, mood and motivation. It makes us feel happy and gives us a sense of pleasure. If we can increase our natural levels of dopamine, for example potentially by taking passion flower supplements, we can improve our mood and possible reduce our level of anxiety.
In 2018, a scientific review of the literature available at the time was conducted into the effectiveness of various herbal supplements on anxiety. The authors concluded that “high-quality evidence was available supporting the use of passion flower to relieve anxiety disorders”.
It’s generally accepted that further studies are needed in order to prove or disprove this conclusion.