Sunday, May 31, 2015

Passionflower Tea

By Wikijasha via Wikimedia Commons

Click image for Nighty Night on (affil.)
Way past her bed time, she stumbles into the kitchen and requests her sleep time tea. Sitting at the kitchen counter in her footy pajamas with the cheetah pattern, my daughter stalls for more awake time rather than going to bed. Soothing herbal blends are popular in my house just before bed.  Herbal teas are technically tisanes and are not strictly speaking teas – which are brews from the tea plant a/k/a/ Camellia senensis plant.  This night, I choose Nighty Night tea by Traditional Medicinals.  The largest ingredient in Nighty Night tea is passionflower.

In 1569, Spanish explorers discovered passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) in Peru. [1]  Native people of America used this plant for rest and relaxation. [1]  Although Passionflower was formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S., few scientific studies have tested passionflower for these purposes and it was taken off the over the counter market in 1978 because its safety and effectiveness had not been proven. [1]  However, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, scientists believe passionflower works by increasing levels of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA lowers the activity of some brain cells, making you feel more relaxed. [2]
Passionflower remains on the herbal market mixed in teas and other herbal blends.  A warm cup of passionflower tea with a  bit of sugar is how my little one likes it and it may be just the thing to lull her to sleep.

[1] United States Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine.  "Passionflower."  Last reviewed - 02/16/2015.

 [2] University of Maryland Medical Center, Medical Reference Guide, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide.  "Herb, Passionflower." Last updated:  May 7, 2013.

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