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Effects of Alcoholic extract vs. aqueous extract

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Oct 23 08 5:55 AM

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I came across an interesting research paper about passionflower the other day. It said that the alcoholic extract of passionflower produced a stimulating, antidepressant effect in mice, while the water extract showed sedative properties. It would be interesting to compare the effects of the two extracts in humans! I have only used passionflower in the form of a tea. It is enjoyable, but I wonder if I'm throwing away some hydrophobic goodies when I discarded the used tea leaves...

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#1 [url]

Oct 23 08 6:44 AM

I read at this website:

Researchers have identified a number of constituents in different passion flower species. The official passion flower is considered to be P. incarnata , which is used for the drug. Key constituents in P. incarnata include flavonoids, maltol, cyanogenic glycosides, and harman indole alkaloids. Flavonoid content (2.5%) includes flavone di-C-glycosides shaftoside, isoshaftoside, isovitexin (found in highest concentration between preflowering and flowering stages in 1 report), iso-orientin, vicenin, lucenin, saponarin, and passiflorine. Free flavonoids include apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, and kamferol. Another report confirms similar constituents by mass spectral analysis. Flavonoid determination by high-performance liquid chromatography and other methods has been extensively reported. The stability of dried extract also has been studied. P. incarnata components include phenolic, fatty, linoleic, linolenic, palmitic, oleic, and myristic acids, as well as formic and butyric acids, coumarins, phytosterols, essential oil, maltol (0.05%), and harman and its derivatives (0.03%). Harmala alkaloids include harmine, harmaline, and harmalol. Quantitative determination of harman and harmin in P. incarnata also has been performed.
Comparative studies
Thin layer chromatographic methods to differentiate P. incarnata from P. edulis and P. caerulea have been described. Quantitative analysis of different plant parts from P. incarnata and P. edulis indicate that P. edulis leaves have the highest alkaloid content, and that fruit rinds contain approximately 0.25% alkaloids. Seeds and root tissue have the lowest alkaloid content. These findings may have economic importance. P. edulis fruit rinds, by-products of passion fruit juice production, may provide an economical source of alkaloids. Flavonoids from P. trinervia and P. sanguinolenta also have been reported. A review of the chemical constitution of Passiflora species is available.

This website reports:
Most alkaloids are not water soluble, extraction is normally by tincture.

However, we see the harmala alkaloids in B. caapi being brewed with water into Ayahuasca.

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#2 [url]

Oct 27 08 7:04 AM

I make passionflower tea all the time and it definitely has an effect, so some of the active compounds must be water soluble. Maybe the flavonoids are soluble in alcohol, and the alkaloids in water, or vice versa? I'm not entirely convinced that harmala alkaloids are the main active, since they occur in such small amounts, although they could potentiate other compounds in the plant. Maybe I need to try to make an alcoholic extract and a water extract and compare the activity of the two. Here is a quote from about the subject: 
"In a recent and very interesting French study, scientists considered the sedating and anti-anxiety effects of Passiflora incarnata extract on mice. Researchers observed that mice medicated with an alcohol extract of passion flower were more willing to climb stairs and more likely to spend time moving about and in bright light. Mice treated with a water extract of passion flower exhibited less activity and increased sleep time."

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#4 [url]

Oct 28 08 3:04 AM

"stimulating, antidepressant" Sounds about like passionflower tea to me, based on my experience. I have often wished of a way to potentiate the effect, since it tends to be pretty inconsistent, and I believe it builds tolerance quite quickly.

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#5 [url]

Oct 30 08 1:17 AM

For me, passionflower tea (which is a simple aqueous extract) is much better than an alcohol extract. The alcohol extract doesn't feel like passionflower in my opinion. I don't like it one bit. I find it mildly stimulating in a way I don't like. I prefer the pleasant relaxed state I get from the tea. It's very different.

One thing though, passionflower is notorious for varying in potency. This is the main problem with this herb.

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#6 [url]

Oct 30 08 7:13 PM

In my experience, the more bitter passionflower is, the stronger it is. This bitter component, or components, also contributes to the smell of the herb. Strong passionflower should have a pungent, slightly rank smell. I got some passionflower the other day that was GARBAGE. It had no pungent smell, but instead had a sweet, mild smell. The tea and smoke from it were not bitter at all. I brewed up the whole 3/8ths of an ounce in one cup of tea and didn't feel anything.

Get the bitter, stinky stuff if you can! It tastes bad, but makes you feel good. I have also noticed that depending on the source, passionflower may be just leaves, or a mix of leaves and stems. The strongest batch I ever had was mostly stems, so don't be afraid if your bag seems to have some woody bits in it. Just use the stems for tea and you can smoke the leaves. Unfortunately, the last batch I had contained lot's of stems but was really weak, so the stem content is not necessarily an indicator of potency.

I will probably try the alcoholic extract just to see how it effects me, but so far it sounds like tea is the way to go...

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#7 [url]

Jan 2 13 1:47 PM

A tri-substituted benzoflavone derivative, comprising a benzene ring fused at positions 6, 7 of a
flavone compound has recently been isolated and claimed to be the main bioactive phyto-constituent
of Passiflora incarnata. It exhibits significant anxiolytic activity at an oral dose of 10 mg/kg in mice.
It also causes reversal of morphine tolerance in mice (dose 10 – 100 mg/kg), prevention of nicotine
addiction in mice (10 – 20 mg/kg), prevention of Δ9
-THC dependence and tolerance in mice (10 – 20
mg/kg) and prevention of ethanol dependence in mice (10 – 50 mg/kg). The compound was also found
to counteract dependence on benzodiazepines in mice and to increase libido in aged rats and to prevent
loss of libido induced by ethanol, Δ9
-THC or nicotine. The authors postulate that the mechanism for
all these effects is inhibition of the enzyme aromatase (a member of the cytochrome P-450 family)
resulting in inhibition of the metabolic conversion of androgens to oestrogens thereby increasing free
testosterone and decreasing free oestrogen [Dhawan et al., 2004].

Aromatase inhibitors:

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