'Little-known' 35p pill can reduce anxiety and stress researchers say

Female hands with pills on background of water glass with effervescent tablet
Studies have shown passionflower supplements may help treat anxiety, insomnia, and certain forms of pain -Credit:Getty

Studies have shown that a 'little-known' 35p pill can help relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. According to research, passionflower can have a positive effect on mood.

You can get a bottle of 30 Passionflower Stress Relief tablets for £10.49 at Holland and Barrett - which is the same as 35p per pill. Holland and Barrett adds: "These tablets support the temporary relief of stress symptoms such as mild anxiety, based on traditional use only."

The tablets have been given an overall customer rating of 4.3 out of five stars. One shopper wrote: "I've tried loads of supplements to increase my mood, reduce anxiety, aid sleep and overall improve my general well being. Nothing comes close to this in terms of effectiveness." A second claimed: "I forget how much these help me until I stop taking them."

Passionflower, which is officially known as Passiflora incarnata (P. incarnata), has been used for medical purposes since the 16th century. Studies have shown passionflower supplements may help treat anxiety, insomnia, and certain forms of pain.

This is due to it potentially increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid. Also known as GABA, the acid is a chemical the brain makes to help regulate mood and trigger calm feelings.

Stress Relief Passionflower 30 Tablets 425mg
Stress Relief Passionflower 30 Tablets 425mg -Credit:Holland and Barrett

There is plenty of evidence that suggests passionflower works to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. Several clinical studies have demonstrated passionflower's anxiety-calming (anxiolytic) properties.

In one trial, researchers found that the flower gave similar results to antianxiety medication taken by mice. Other clinical trials in animal models also found it had sedative benefits.

Meanwhile, a 2016 study revealed passionflower lowered anxiety and boosted memory in rats. These effects are likely because of the flower's affect on GABA levels in the brain.

Passionflower has also become a popular night-time remedy. It’s believed to help with insomnia and aid relaxation by supporting the reduction of anxiety.

The chemical in passionflower can lower the activity of some brain cells, making you feel more relaxed -Credit:Getty

However, the exact degree passionflower works on the brain differs from study to study. In one review, it was found to have a significant sedative and calming effect. At the same time, other researchers say it is best to use as an add-on to traditional anxiety treatments.

Remember, food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking any medications or under medical supervision, consult a doctor or healthcare professional before use.

It is also important however to speak to your doctor to rule out any other possible health conditions and to avoid making any drastic diet or lifestyle changes without an appointment first.

Symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) can cause a change in your behaviour and the way you think and feel about things. It can also cause physical changes. This results in symptoms like:

  • restlessness

  • a sense of dread

  • feeling constantly “on edge”

  • difficulty concentrating

  • irritability

  • dizziness

  • tiredness

  • a noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)

  • muscle aches and tension

  • trembling or shaking

  • dry mouth

  • excessive sweating

  • shortness of breath

  • stomach ache

  • feeling sick

  • headache

  • pins and needles

  • difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)

Your symptoms may cause you to withdraw from social contact to avoid feelings of worry and dread. You may also find going to work difficult and stressful and may take time off sick. These actions can make you worry even more about yourself and increase your lack of self-esteem.