Griffonia simplicifolia, also known because of its active compound 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), is a plant belonging to the Leguminosae family known as griffonia, but also as “African bean”, since it looks like a bean and comes from Africa.
In ancient times in Africa people used the bark, the root and also the leaves of this plant to heal wounds and injuries, whereas the juice was used for its laxative properties or to treat kidney issues. Griffonia was also thought to be an aphrodisiac.
Actually, this plant has a specific benefit: it boosts serotonin levels in our body; and that’s the reason why it is often recommended as a natural remedy for treating different emotional disorders.
Let’s see now all of griffonia’s health benefits,uses and side effects.
Griffonia (5-HTP) health benefits:
Griffonia is an actual natural antidepressant. This is true due to the fact the plant seeds are packed with 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), also known as oxitriptan, which is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of serotonin. Serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone, is essential in regulating our mood, but it is also essential as it regulates sleep and hunger.
Griffonia boasts other valuable benefits, then let’s get a little deeper now:
As it regulates serotonin levels, griffonia is beneficial in order to treat depression (mild or moderate). It can be also helpful if used as a natural remedy for sudden mood shifts, that extremely sensitive people experience during seasonal changes, for instance.
✓ Treating insomnia
Since serotonin is a melatonin precursor, and melatonin regulates sleep, griffonia may be recommended also to those people who have insomnia issues. It proves helpful to promote falling asleep and to avoid nocturnal awakening.
✓ Treating emotional eating
Not only anxiety, depression and insomnia but also other nervous system issues may be treated by griffonia. One of these is emotional eating: when at nights you crave carbs and sweets.
✓ Tonic effect
Griffonia has tonic benefits that help if you suffer from fatigue, be it chronic or seasonal. Actually, it enhances resistance to fatigue and stress. It often happens that griffonia and rhodiola rosea are taken together, to boost griffonia’s reinvigorating effect.
✓ Treating costiveness
Maybe not everybody knows this plant may help the bowel too. One of griffonia’s benefits, maybe not so much known, is its ability to improve bowel motility, thus helping if you suffer from costiveness.
As this pathology, also known as “Atlantis syndrome” is caused by serotonin deficiency, griffonia may be used effectivily (on medical advice) to treat the pain caused by this syndrome.
Griffonia (5-HTP) uses:
The most valuable active compounds of this plant are enshrined in its seeds, from which you get a dried extract that you usually take in the form of tablets or capsules. Yet, we also find a fluid griffonia extract (drops) or mother tincture.
With griffonia (5-HTP) supplements, it is recommended to take one tablet twice a day, on an empty stomach, for at least one month before feeling any benefits. If you use mother tincture, it is recommended to take 30 drops of it.
As with any other natural remedies, it is suggested to take griffonia cyclically and stop the treatment for some time, in order to prevent the organism from being addicted to it. Seek expert advice on the proper dose of griffonia to take.
Sometimes, griffonia may be associated with other plants which boost its effectiveness, let’s see what they are:
- Lemon balm and passionflower: for a stronger effect on the nervous system to enhance calm and relaxation;
- Rhodiola rosea: griffonia and rhodiola rosea, when taken together, have an even more tonic effect on the organism;
- Hypericum: griffonia and hypericum are often used together as a natural antidepressant combination;
- Hawthron: to treat anxiety;
- Valerian: to improve sleep.
Griffonia (HTP) side effects:
Griffonia counterindications don’t have to be underestimated. Avoid taking griffonia if you are hypersensitive to this plant or the family it belongs to. It is not recommended to take griffonia if you are pregnant or nursing, as there don’t exist yet studies showing it is safe in these two cases.
Griffonia side effects are rare, though they may show up above all if you take large doses of this plant extract. In such cases, you may have nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal symptoms. As regards interactions with other medications, griffonia is to be avoided if you are on drugs that boost serotonin. It is advisable to seek medical advice before taking this natural remedy to avoid any issues.