There is no shortage of opportunities to be stressed in the modern world. Everything is accelerating and we sometimes don’t have enough time to recover. It is not uncommon for stress to be coupled with depression or to cause disorders such as insomnia and anxiety.
Allopathic medicine offers various painkillers, but more and more people who suffer from these types of symptoms are looking for natural solutions to their problems. Some people also consume this type of plant in nootropics.
Today, we would like to introduce you to the benefits of Griffonia for the brain, an African plant that forms bean-shaped fruits from which a beneficial substance, 5htp, is extracted.
Presentation Of Griffonia Simplicifolia.
Griffonia simplicifolia, also known as the African black bean, is a natural source of 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan (5-HTP). It is a climbing plant that is little known in the West, but which has been used for a very long time in the traditional pharmacopeia in Africa.
A Little Botany.
Griffonia simplicifolia is a kind of woody shrub found in the forests of Africa, particularly in Gabon and Liberia, but also in Benin and Togo. This climbing plant can reach up to 3 meters high.
It is used for its seeds, in the form of beans. They have been used for a long time in traditional medicines because of their benefits for the brain.
The Griffonia allows the regulation of the mood and supports sleep. It can replace antidepressants without the drawbacks and side effects of these drugs.
Today, Griffonia simplicifolia is available as a dietary supplement in the form of plant extract capsules. The product is not reimbursed by the French Social Security, but you can consult your health insurance company, some of which cover alternative medicine.
Griffonia Simplicifolia, A Food Supplement Against Depression.
Griffonia seeds contain an amino acid, 5-HTP or 5 Hydroxytryptophan. It is a precursor of serotonin. This neurotransmitter allows the regulation of sleep and better resistance to stress. 5-HTP is also very useful when we feel down or when the events of the day have irritated us to the point of creating a bad mood.
It is sometimes said that Griffonia simplicifolia is a natural Prozac! The image speaks for itself since 5-HTP helps to fight against temporary depressive states, anxiety, stress, or insomnia that it causes.
A 1998 study showed that a 5-HTP-based treatment is effective in cases of depression. Griffonia is the main current source of this substance, which can also be synthesized.
Nevertheless, if you wish to consume a natural product, turn instead to Griffonia simplicifolia capsules, which are offered today by several laboratories specialized in food supplements (see below our buying guide).
Griffonia Simplicifolia Against Sleep Disorders And Nocturnal Anxiety Attacks.
The intake of Griffonia is also indicated in the case of sleep disorders. This dietary supplement helps to regain serenity and avoid night-time panic attacks, those where you wake up sweating as if after a horrible nightmare because the brain is replaying the stressful events of the day.
Griffonia is therefore not a sleeping pill, but rather a mood modulator, which allows the body to better adapt to stress. Sleep is better, nights are longer and more regular. The patient wakes up in a better mood, ready for the day. The 1998 study cited above confirms the beneficial effects on sleep.
How Does 5-HTP Act On Our Brain?
5-HTP is an amino acid. Our body is able to produce it from tryptophan, another amino acid. Tryptophan is found in proteins such as meat, fish, milk, legumes, and oilseeds such as nuts.
One of the particularities of 5-HTP is that this substance is able to cross the blood-brain barrier to transform into serotonin once in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that allows the body to regulate mood, reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep.
The interest in Griffonia simplicifolia lies in the fact that it is the main source of natural 5-HTP. This substance can usefully replace anti-depression drugs such as Prozac, in the treatment of intense migraines, depression, insomnia, anxiety, or neurological problems.
Griffonia simplicifolia contains 3 to 7% of 5-HTP. This substance can also be synthetically manufactured in the laboratory.
Main Studies On 5-HTP And Griffonia Simplicifolia.
Contrary to other dietary supplements, Griffonia simplicifolia has been the subject of quite a few studies.
Nevertheless, as far as depression is concerned, the proof that Griffonia would be as effective as antidepressants could not be definitively brought. The main reason for this is that these studies involved a small number of patients.
A 2005 study, in particular, looked at the effects of supplementation with 5-HTP, the precursor of serotonin. It showed significant effects compared to the group that received a placebo.
Clinical trials on the beneficial effects of Griffonia simplicifolia against stress-related headaches are quite old and mostly date back to the 1980s. They involved the administration of 400 to 600 mg of 5-HTP per day to 599 patients over a period of 6 months. 5-HTP was found to be as effective as a conventional drug, Methygerside.
Finally, the current increase in cases of fibromyalgia has led researchers to investigate the possible beneficial effects of Griffonia simplicifolia on this pathology.
Griffonia Simplicifolia: What Dosage?
As we have seen, the effectiveness of Griffonia simplicifolia and its benefits for the brain are linked to its 5-HTP content. It is this substance that stimulates the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone.
It follows that the dosage of Griffonia simplicifolia depends on the one hand on the problems you want to treat by taking this food supplement, and on the other hand on the dosage of the 5-HTP preparation.
Our advice is therefore to always check the 5-HTP content before choosing a product. The dosage must be between 14 and 15%, in order to bring you a real benefit.
So far, common food supplements generally contain between 50 and 100 mg of active ingredients per dose. You can modulate your intake from 50 to 200 mg.
For more clarity, let us take an example. Here are the capsules of the MGD Laboratory, at 300 mg. But of what, exactly?
The composition of the food supplement tells us that the product contains 330 mg of Griffonia and 99 mg of 5-HTP. The manufacturer advises 1 capsule per day, with a large glass of water, before or between meals.
We will see below, in our buying guide, that there are other types of dosages, which will influence the dosage. Nevertheless, as this is a natural product, it is always advisable to check the dosage of the active ingredient, in this case, 5-HTP.
In general, Griffonia is taken as a food supplement, in long courses of 1 to 3 months. The product comes in the form of capsules containing plant extracts. It is generally recommended not to exceed 3 months of treatment without medical advice.
When To Take Griffonia?
We have seen that the manufacturers recommend taking it outside of meals, with a large glass of water. Concerning the time of intake, it depends on the effect you are looking for. If you consume this food supplement to ensure better sleep, take it one hour before bedtime.
Conversely, if you feel irritated and stressed, you can take a capsule at the time of the crisis or when you are confronted with a situation that causes tension. Do not necessarily expect an immediate effect.
But being a natural product, you will be able to take it again several days in a row and the effects will gradually accumulate.
Example of posology:
- 1 capsule in the morning.
- 1 capsule in the evening 30 mn before bedtime.
Risks And Dangers Of Griffonia Simplicifolia.
It is a medicinal plant that has been proven for many years in African pharmacopeias. In reasonable doses, it does not present any particular risk, except for an addictive effect, so that the beneficial effects on the brain tend to diminish with time. Nevertheless, it is good to take some precautions.
Do not hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Adverse Reactions Of Griffonia Simplicifolia.
The side effects are few if you consume food supplements from recognized laboratories and if you respect the recommended dosage. In particular, there is no risk of overdosing.
Among the side effects reported, we should note:
- Intestinal Disorders.
Digestive problems are temporary and generally do not require stopping the drug. Attention to those who drive their car: it is better not to consume Griffonia before taking the wheel, because of the risk of drowsiness.
Contra-Indications Of Griffonia Simplicifolia.
- Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- Avoid in patients with Down’s syndrome, who may suffer from convulsions (incidence of about 15% of patients).
- Not to be taken in case of scleroderma, thickening of the skin.
Griffonia simplicifolia is likely to interact with plants and other food supplements, but also with allopathic drugs. In case of doubt, do not hesitate to contact your doctor or your pharmacist. This precaution is essential if you are already taking another treatment.
Interactions With Food Supplements.
Care should be taken when taking St. John’s Wort or natural antidepressants in general. Indeed, their potential interactions with Griffonia have not been studied and are therefore not known.
Interactions With Medications.
The same problem arises if you are already taking any type of chemical antidepressant. Indeed, their combination with 5-HTP could increase too much the serotonin level in the brain.
Know how to anticipate problems or recognize them: an excess of serotonin manifests itself by nausea, trembling, and a quickening of the heart. You may also experience headaches. The same problems can occur when 5-HTP interacts with painkillers like Tramadol.
Conversely, if you take serotonin antagonists, such as Cyproheptadine, the 5-HTP contained in Griffonia simplicifolia could be neutralized and you will not get any beneficial effect from taking this dietary supplement.
Opinion On Griffonia Simplicifolia.
Griffonia simplicifolia is a dietary supplement that is becoming increasingly popular. Many people are relieved by taking these plant extracts. Here are some customer reviews and comments on the product.
As we have seen, Griffonia simplicifolia is used for its 5-HTP content. You will find different preparations, whose active ingredient dosage may vary. There are also food supplements based on synthetic 5-HTP.
Brands sold in pharmacies such as Arkopharma now make it easy to obtain Griffonia simplicifolia.
This product can be purchased in pharmacies, if necessary by ordering it, or on the website of an online pharmacy.
Sites specialized in the marketing of food supplements such as Onatera, Nature et Forme or Vitalabo will offer you different preparations based on Griffonia or synthetic 5-HTP. You can also buy your supplements on Amazon.
5-HTP is a serotonin precursor that helps fight against stress and improves sleep quality. It is generally extracted from the climbing plant Griffonia simplicifolia, well known in traditional African pharmacopeia. This product is becoming increasingly popular in France.
You can choose a natural or even organic extract, but you can also buy synthetic 5-HTP capsules. The health effects are very similar.
Griffonia simplicifolia also helps to improve mood and can be of great help in winter, during depression due to lack of light, or when facing difficult and stressful situations. Always remember to check the origin of the supplement.
Generally speaking, the properties of Griffonia are similar to those of Rhodiola.