Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has been used in South America and Europe to treat anxiety, insomnia, seizures and hysteria. It continues to be used today to treat anxiety and insomnia. Although there is little empirical data to support the effectiveness of passionflower in relieving anxiety and promoting restful sleep, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center passionflower is believed to increase the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is known to lower the activity of some brain cells and inducing relaxation. This herbal remedy is often administered by making tea from dried leaves, stems and flowers of the passionflower.
Place 1 tsp. of dried passionflower herbs in a cup. Pour boiling water over the herbs and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Use of a tea ball makes the process easier and keeps the herbs separated from the tea, but it is not necessary.
Strain through cheesecloth or other strainer to remove herbs and allow to cool slightly.
Mix undiluted fruit juice concentrate with the tea for flavoring. Reheat to the desired temperature and serve hot or allow to cool completely for a cold drink.
Drink 3 to 4 cups of passionflower tea daily to treat mild anxiety. One cup an hour before bedtime is reported to alleviate problems with insomnia.