Meet the Ingredient: Passionflower

Written by Joseph Claussen, Co-Founder


About the Author:

Joseph has 20+ years of leadership experience in high-touch luxury industries. For the past five years, he has worked exclusively on mycology & plant medicine supply chain development with a focus on mushroom cultivation and extraction, nutrition science, health coaching, cognitive health, metabolic function, and product development in CPG supplements. Joseph is an avid speaker and cognitive health evangelist.


Passionflower extract is gaining recognition for its potential impact on brain health. This botanical marvel, Passiflora incarnata, was used by indigenous peoples of the Americas as a sedative. Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers in South America learned of passionflower and brought the plant back to Europe, where it became widely cultivated and was introduced to European folk medicine. Recent studies are shedding light on its remarkable properties.

Anxiolytic (Anti-Anxiety) Properties:

Passionflower extract exhibits promise in alleviating anxiety, providing potential relief from the cognitive toll of stress and indirectly supporting overall brain health (1).

Sedative and Sleep-Promoting Effects:

Traditionally utilized as a natural remedy for sleep disorders, passionflower's mild sedative properties may contribute to enhanced sleep quality—a crucial element for cognitive function and overall brain health (2).

Antioxidant Activity:

Boasting various compounds with antioxidant properties, passionflower plays a pivotal role in shielding brain cells from oxidative stress, a factor linked to neurodegenerative diseases (3).

Neuroprotective Effects:

Emerging studies suggest that passionflower may possess neuroprotective properties, potentially safeguarding nerve cells from damage or degeneration. This could prove particularly beneficial in conditions affecting the brain, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease (4).

Anti-Inflammatory Effects:

Chronic inflammation is associated with neurological conditions, and passionflower's investigated anti-inflammatory properties may contribute to reducing inflammation in the brain, supporting overall brain health (5).


Now, let's delve into the proposed mechanisms explaining these effects, all supported by scientific research:

GABAergic Activity: Passionflower may induce anxiolytic and sedative effects by modulating the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system, assisting in anxiety regulation and promoting relaxation.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibition: Studies propose that passionflower may have mild MAO inhibitory activity, potentially increasing neurotransmitter levels associated with mood regulation, such as serotonin and dopamine.

Interaction with Benzodiazepine Receptors: Compounds in passionflower may interact with benzodiazepine receptors, akin to anti-anxiety medications, contributing to its anxiolytic properties.

Antioxidant Activity: Passionflower's flavonoids, including vitexin and isovitexin, exhibit antioxidant properties, neutralizing free radicals and protecting brain cells from oxidative stress.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Certain passionflower compounds, such as flavonoids and chrysin, have been studied for their anti-inflammatory properties, potentially contributing to neuroprotection.

While we eagerly await further research to fully understand the breadth of passionflower's benefits, these findings open exciting possibilities for naturally enhancing brain health. For those keen on delving deeper, explore the studies, listed below.



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