After a nearly two decades of suffering with Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness, I decided it was time to go back to my roots (no pun intended:) ) and begin to put my house in order as I should have done in the first place!
I grew tired of the pharmaceutical route; mistakenly thinking it was the only answer for this crazy wall in my life that suddenly loomed in my path and refused to move. I tried it all. Believe me. Instead of helping, it seemed to make my life worse. My blood pressure continued to skyrocket with the newest fibro medicine, followed by more medicines, and eventually the need for oxygen. Even though I maintained the same prescription for pain for six years, it made me sluggish and even more exhausted and yet strangely, I wasn’t sleeping. I felt like I was eighty years old, literally. I remember thinking one day, “I am dying a slow death…” It was time to regroup.
When you begin taking any pain meds, your body’s own oxytocin (your natural pain reliever) will begin to take a back seat, and let the prescription medicines do the work until your body is no longer producing much, if any, oxytocin. So now, all pain relief has to come externally.
Eventually, you are unknowingly, back where you started, in pain. This cycle continues and you are always back to square one. You find yourself wondering how you can ever go back to no pain meds, if you are taking “this much” and it’s not helping. But, there is hope.
Over time, as you make small incremental steps, your body will resume its job of making oxytocin again, and you may be shocked to find, as I was, that I am in less pain off the meds, than I was on. Of course, that didn’t mean the original problem had disappeared, but it gave me hope for the future.
It began for me with taking charge of my own health. I remember in college, in my psychology class, learning a really great truth, that I trusted would see me through the interim. It was this, if you live by a busy road, at first you were overwhelmed by the noise. But your mind after a while, will tell your ears, “Hey, we don’t need to worry about that road.” And off goes the constant notice of it.
In a sense it drops below the line of consciousness, and unless something extraordinary happens, it stays that way.
How about those women who love their perfume? You smell it when it wafts in, but after awhile, it fades to the background. Same thing.
Pain follows this rule. At times, something may reinjure you, or rain may bring your notice of it back above that line, but to some degree, you can reach the point of your own body making up a sizable chunk of the difference between noticing pain and being on the road to a better life in less pain.
Still, our bodies can’t fix everything. We know this. So, for me, the direction I head for my “go-to” pain relief is Passionflower(Passiflora incarnate.)
It’s a simple beginning, but at you continue forward, learning all that you can about your condition or illness, and getting your immune system back in order, things can be better. Starting small enables you to retain and sustain the changes you make long term.
Passionflower, first of all, is calming. It settles the mind and can help with anxiety. When our nerves become overly stimulated they send out a distress call that may be the cause of chronic pain, anxiousness, or even exhaustion of the endocrine system.
It was used by the Native Americans as a sedative, although it would require a larger dose than what I might take on a daily basis, but still, be careful in your dosage, see how your body reacts to it, and increase it by small amounts until you know how it affects you.
I like the powdered herb, and I put it in two size “0” capsules, and take it whenever my fibro becomes overwhelming, or I think it’s getting there. It is also believed to be a nerve toner, and it can strengthen your immune system as well.
As a pain reliever, Passionflower offers a healthy dose of good nutrition, strengthening the immune system and gently nudging it back into balance. It can also help with narcotic withdrawal symptoms, as can California Poppy. (Please talk with your Doctor concerning any changes in your medicines, and when adding herbs to the mix, especially if you are pregnant or on blood thinners.)
The leaves, stem and flowers (above the ground) are the useful and medicinal parts of this plant. Here in Utah, we have to grow it as a houseplant, but it can very likely be grown in those parts of the US and world, that are hot and humid. (I hear cheers coming from the Deep South!)
Some of the other things that Passionflower is a good candidate for is Shingles, menopausal symptoms, and yeast infections. Do your research on dosage for these things, and know what you are taking, as well as any side effects. The generally accepted dosage for an adult (Passionflower for children is not recommended) is:
- Tea: Steep 0.5 – 2 g (about 1 tsp.) of dried herb in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes; strain and cool. For anxiety, drink 3 – 4 cups per day. For insomnia, drink one cup an hour before going to bed.
- Tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol): 10 – 45 drops, 3 times a day
- Capsules: containing ¼ to ½ t, 2-3 times daily.
Common Side Effects:
- It can cause drowsiness.
- Pregnancy Dangers: It can stimulate contractions, and is best left alone if you are pregnant.
- If you are on blood thinners, it can decrease your blood’s ability to clot, magnifying a blood thinners effect.
- It could possibly depress breathing with a high enough dose, interfering with your oxygen saturation. Again, do your research or talk with your Doctor before taking it.
- There may be other side effects, although it has been well researched, and the above seem to be the lion’s share of them.
Be sure and let us know about your own experiences with Passionflower!
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Do not take anything from any website, including this one, and try it without proper research and medical supervision. To put it bluntly,
“If you take anything you read from any web site, including this one, at face value, and then go off and try something you read about, without having appropriate safeguards and/or medical supervision and knowledge, you may get what’s coming to you, which could include, but is not limited to: death, permanent disabilities, damage, headache, bad breath, or worse.” –Dave Asprey
I encourage you to do your own research. Learn everything you can on any given herb or medicine, and in doing so, you will be coming from a point of knowledge rather than hoping someone else is right. It’s always better to learn from two or three good sources, and more if you have the inclination and time.