Passion Flower- is known to increase levels of GABA in the brain, calm, decrease anxiety, improve sleep, improve liver function, and help to recover from adrenal fatigue.

  • “The properties in passionflower are thought to promote calming effects by increasing the levels of the chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which reduces the activity of some neurons that cause anxiety.”
  • Passiflora incarnata L. (Passionflower) extracts elicit GABA currents in hippocampal neurons in vitro, and show anxiogenic and anticonvulsant effects in vivo, varying with extraction method”
  • “Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) was used traditionally in the Americas and later in Europe as a calming herb for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hysteria. It is still used today to treat anxiety and insomnia. 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.”
  • “While many plant extracts contain amino acids, Passiflora extracts were found to have the highest GABA content of 21 examined plants (). Our studies show that Passiflora extracts not only contain a high amount of GABA, but are also able to induce direct GABAA currents in CA1 hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Since the extract with reduced amino acid levels induced no current, it is likely that the GABA content of the extract is sufficient to explain the observed GABA currents in vitro. As the main endogenous inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA might be expected to act as a natural anticonvulsant”


Helps with Anxiety

Helps with Sleep

Helps with ADHD

Helps with Symptoms of Menopause

Helps with Stress

Helps with Headaches

Helps Improve Liver Function

Helps Recover from Adrenal Fatigue


We have historically purchased our Passion Flower from Mountain Rose Herbs, but have also purchased from Amazon. Passion Flower has a very mild, but slightly* bitter taste, and it is easy to sneak in.  We tend to sip on it as an herbal tea (our son loves it served cold with honey) or even add a pinch to smoothies. More information on how to prepare these here, Incorporating Herbs Into Diet. While more robust, tinctures may also be given. We prefer to source from Sage Woman Herbs or HerbPharm, which can be purchased on Amazon here due to lower glutamate risk in the alcohol used.

When confused with the proper dosing for children, we’ve followed Dr. Stephen Buhner’s suggestion by dividing by weight by 160 (i.e., if 40lbs, give 1/4 the recommended dose or less).


According to WebMD, “When taken by mouth: Passionflower is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in food-flavoring amounts. It is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken as a tea nightly for 7 nights, or as a medicine for up to 8 weeks. It may cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.”  It is believed to be safe for children.


Why Is This Important?

Glutamate is also the most abundant neurotransmitter, responsible for regulating over 50% of the nervous system. It is classified as an excitatory neurotransmitter, which means it excites or stimulates nerve cells located throughout the nervous system. Glutamate also has the ability to regulate other neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin, and GABA are great examples. When glutamate is in excess it is extremely toxic to the brain and nervous system. It can become so excitatory, it is considered an excitotoxin, which means that it overstimulates brain cells to the point of killing them or damaging them enough to cause severe mitochondrial dysfunction (associated with low muscle tone) and neurological inflammation. Excess glutamate is believed to be involved in a variety of neurological and neurodegenerative disorders including autism, obsessive-compulsive disorders, hyperactivity disorders, complex motor stereotypes, tics, insomnia, anxiety disorders, seizures, sensory processing disorder, addiction, depression, chronic fatigue, PANS, PANDAS, Alzheimer’s, and so on. Excess glutamate also impairs methylation and depletes glutathione levels, which are vital for detoxification, controlling inflammation, and gut health.  Working to lower glutamate/inflammation and balance GABA, is key to improving overall health.

Obviously diet (REID) is one of the most important if not, the most important step in lowering glutamate. However, this natural option may prove beneficial in helping when experiencing a peak of symptoms related to high glutamate and neurological inflammation, i.e. following consumption of a high glutamate food, trauma or a “flare” from PANS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder) or PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections).  Additionally, working to lower inflammation/glutamate by treating underlying sources inflammation (metals, microbial imbalances, parasites, microglial activation, poor detoxification pathways, various toxins, etc.) will also be hugely beneficial.  We’ve personally found homeopathy to be great for this.

I do not have personal experience with all options mentioned in the “Lowering Glutamate” page, nor would I recommend all of them (especially the pharmaceutical options). You will want to read the comments as some of the items used to temporarily lower glutamate, can actually work to increase glutamate/glutamate sensitivity over time.

The information shared within this blog has been gathered by a mother, not a physician, and should not act as medical advice. Under no circumstances shall I, or any contributors and affiliates of the blog, be responsible for damages arising from the use of the blog.