Passionflower extract can relieve anxiety

Herbal anxiety remedies, such as passionflower extract and kava, are proven to work

Herbal Remedy - Health News - Marie Claire
Herbal Remedy - Health News - Marie Claire
(Image credit: Rex Features)

Herbal anxiety remedies, such as passionflower extract and kava, are proven to work

Two herbal remedies that have been around for centuries – passionflower extract and kava – both have the power to combat anxiety disorders, scientists have found.

Passion flower has a long history of treating anxiety in folklore all over the world. It is widely recommended as a treatment for restlessness and nervousness. However, it is unclear which of the thousands of chemicals in the plant are responsible for its effects.

Kava is a drink prepared from the plant Piper methysticum. It has been consumed in many cultures for centuries and is said to relieve anxiety, restlessness and insomnia.

The study, published in the Nutrition Journal, found ‘strong evidence’ from an analysis of 24 studies involving more than 2,000 participants, that combinations of the amino acids L-lysine and L-arginine found in the plants may be useful anxiety remedies.

They are two of the 20 ‘building blocks’ of proteins, and studies on animals have linked them to the brain's nerve system, which affects stress and anxiety.

But results showed that St John's Wort, a herbal medicine commonly used to relieve depression, and magnesium supplements were ineffective.

Study leader Shaheen Lakhan, from the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation in Los Angeles, said: ‘Our review and summary of the literature on herbal remedies and dietary supplements for anxiety should aid mental health practitioners in advising their patients and provide insight for future research in this field.’


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