What is Griffonia Simplicifolia?

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  • Written By: Marco Sumayao
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 12 December 2018
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Griffonia simplicifolia is an herb commonly used as a weight loss supplement, sleep aid, and antidepressant. Other uses include management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and pain relief. The beneficial effects are because of the amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which is found in the herb's seeds. The compound is extracted from the seeds and taken as a dietary supplement.

The 5-HTP found in Griffonia simplicifolia extract is an important building block of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate appetite and mood. Griffonia extract boosts the production of serotonin and subsequently increases the effect the neurotransmitter has on the body. For this reason, this herb is touted for its versatility.

About 80% of the serotonin produced by the human body is used to regulate intestinal movement. The remainder is synthesized in the central nervous system, where part of it is used to halt the production of dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that increases appetite, so cutting the release of dopamine also staves off hunger pangs. This is why the herb is often used as an appetite suppressant.


Serotonin can also increase feelings of elatedness, self-worth, and confidence. When 5-HTP is ingested to produce higher levels of the neurotransmitter, these feelings are proportionally magnified. Griffonia simplicifolia extract, therefore, may be used as a natural alternative to antidepressant medications. As with other antidepressants, its clinical applications include insomnia relief; treatment of different types of mood disorder, such as depression and anxiety disorder; and management of ADHD.

Griffonia extract also can be used for pain relief, because serotonin is known to increase feelings of pleasure. The supplement is often used to numb pain and ease migraines. It also can increase tolerance to pain, which makes it very useful for individuals who suffer from chronic pain symptoms.

One significant benefit that this extract has over most commercial medications is that its active ingredient, 5-HTP, occurs naturally. The potential side effects are significantly reduced, compared to chemically derived medications. This makes the supplement a useful alternative, especially for individuals who practice an all-natural lifestyle.

Griffonia simplicifolia is not entirely free of side effects, however. The most commonly reported side effect is nausea, although the sensation often fades after a few days. Supplements containing griffonia extract sometimes also contain caffeine, which might lead to serious problems in low-tolerance individuals. It is highly recommended that anyone using oil from the seeds consult a healthcare professional and be tested for allergies first.


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Post 6

I was diagnosed with cluster migraines recently as well as chronic pelvic pain. In some on-line research and discussions with Mayo Clinic doctors I found that treating the migraines also treated the pelvic/abdominal pain. I started taking a combination of 100mg time released 5-HTP (night time only and have reduced to 50 mg at night), 1200 mg of Lecithin (2 x per day), 250mg Magnesium (at night), along with GNC Women's multivitamin formula, 1,000mg of L-arginine (after meals), and a super antioxidant formula (daily).

I have gone from extreme migraines to no migraines with occasional flare ups that are quickly resolved with the Hyland's herbal migraine formula. I was initially prescribed a tryptophan and that made things worse, not better

. The above is working great for me and I sent the similar formula to my niece who is also experiencing positive results. It's all about starting with the lowest dose and testing it out, following the advice given and ensuring there are no other drug interactions.
Post 5

This is well known, but as the chemical is naturally available is non patentable. and thus because the farmaco companies are all about altruism (sarcasm) they do not develop, test or sell the compound.

Post 3

@umbra21: Can't agree with you more!

Post 2

@browncoat - In some cases I think it is worth the risk if it makes people feel better. It can be horrible to be depressed all the time and not be able to sleep, or to overeat and feel yourself get bigger as the days go on.

It might turn out later to cause some problems, although studies so far seem to indicate that it is safe. But, depression should be treated and I think in some cases it is worth the slight risk. But, people have to judge that for themselves.

Post 1

They really need to do more research on griffonia simplicifolia and its side effects.

It just gets sold over the counter in a lot of places, and not enough is known about possible long term effects.

There have been a few studies which show that in fact it can be useful in reducing depression.

But without long term studies, I don't know how they can tell what kind of dosage should be used or anything.

Serotonin overdose can cause heart disease and other problems. I'm not saying you shouldn't use this if it makes you feel better, but keep an eye out for studies on it, just in case.

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