An estimated one-third of the worldwide population suffers from varying degrees of insomnia, and the use of herbal remedies as an alternative treatment for insomnia symptoms has been gaining in popularity. Passion flower (Passiflora incarnate) is a traditional folk remedy often used for anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) purposes. Russell Conduit, from Monash University (Australia), and colleagues studied 41 healthy men and women, ages 18 to 35 years. The subjects were surveyed as their health and sleeping patterns, and kept a sleep diary during the study period. All participants were given passion flower teabags (containing 2 grams of dried Passiflora incarnate) and parsley teabags (containing 2 grams dried Petroselinum crispum) from which to make tea, for one week; they consumed one cup of either the passion flower or parsley tea and completed a sleep diary for seven days. All of the subjects also completed an anxiety inventory survey on day 7 of the study period, and 10 participants also underwent overnight polysomnography testing, a diagnostic procedure that records the biophysiological changes that occur during sleep, on the final night of each treatment. The team observed that when the subjects consumed passion flower tea, they reported an increase in sleep quality of around 5%, as compared to the placebo. The researchers conclude that: “Consumption of a low dose of Passiflora incarnata, in the form of tea, yields short-term subjective sleep benefits for healthy adults with mild fluctuations in sleep quality.”
A. Ngan, R. Conduit. “A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Investigation of the Effects of Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) Herbal Tea on Subjective Sleep Quality.” Phytotherapy Research, 3 February 2011.
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