We’re with you on this one Dr. Oz!

North America’s most famous daytime TV doctor sure makes a point of emphasizing the benefit of diet, lifestyle and nutritional supplement strategies to improve or maintain our health. While some would call these “alternatives”, we would call them mainstream approaches to health. While we at Full Circle appreciate Dr. Oz’s illumination of drug-free methods of healing, we won’t hide the fact that we’re a little hesitant to go head-over-heels with some of his recommendations because unless he has access to some vast archives of unpublished material that never see the light of public medical databases, the supporting evidence is often missing or relatively unsubstantial; at least not present in any way that would be clinically useful to our patients and customers. Hey, it’s a free country, and that includes free-thinking. 

However, there are many times when we DO wholeheartedly share Dr. Oz’s enthusiasm for some forms of therapy and while we’ll decline to mention all of them, one of Dr. Oz’s latest endorsements goes by the name of Passionflower (passiflora incarnata), a beautiful flowering vine type shrub that grows in para-tropical climates all over the globe. Passionflower has a long history of use among Native North Americans and later European colonists for its impressive and potent anti-depressive and anti-anxiety effects.

"Passionflower" by Hans-Peter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In addition to traditional usage, studies using passionflower extracts containing high amounts of specific alklaloids performed as well as oxazepam (a type of benzodiazepine medication used for anxiety) without the side-effects. Higher doses have found to have mild sedating properties which can be used to aid in sleep. Other documented properties of passionflower include blood-pressure lowering effects presumably due to its effect on GABA in the body (an inhibitory neurotransmitter).

Among herbal anxiolytic supplements, passionflower remains one of our favourites based on available research and clinical effectiveness with our patients and those of our colleagues. As always, proper dosage and potency of specific phytochemical markers can make all the difference in terms of effectiveness, so choosing a quality product can be crucial. Moreover, although rare, passionflower may have some interactions and contraindications with medications and we recommend you speak to one of our qualified staff at Full Circle to make sure passionflower is the right solution for you.