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Overview InformationPassion flower is a climbing vine that is native to the southeastern United States, and Central and South America. The above ground parts are used to make medicine.
Passion flower is used for anxiety, including anxiety before surgery. Some people take passion flower for insomnia, stress, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), pain, and many other conditions. But there is no good scientific research to support these uses.
In foods and beverages, passion flower extract is used as a flavoring.
Passion flower was formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S., but this approval was withdrawn in 1978 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the class and manufacturers did not submit evidence of safety and effectiveness.
How does it work?The chemicals in passionflower have calming, sleep inducing, and muscle spasm relieving effects.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- Anxiety. Some research shows that taking passion flower by mouth can reduce symptoms of anxiety. In fact, it might work as effectively as some prescription medications.
- Anxiety before surgery. Some research shows that taking passion flower by mouth can reduce anxiety before surgery when taken 30-90 minutes before surgery. In fact, it might work as effectively as some other treatments for pre-operative anxiety such as melatonin or midazolam.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Early research shows that passion flower reduces some symptoms of ADHD in children aged 6-13 years when taken by mouth for 8 weeks. It seems to work about as well as a low dose of the prescription drug methylphenidate.
- Insomnia. Early research shows that taking passion flower extract or drinking a passion flower tea before bedtime might increase total sleep time and improve sleep quality in people with insomnia. But passion flower doesn't seem to help people fall asleep faster or decrease nighttime awakenings.
- Withdrawal from heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs. Early research shows that taking a passion flower extract in addition to a drug called clonidine for 14 days might reduce anxiety symptoms better than taking clonidine alone in people undergoing an opioid detoxification program.
- Alcohol use disorder.
- Heart failure and fluid build up in the body (congestive heart failure or CHF).
- Inability to cope or adjust to a stressful event (adjustment disorders).
- Indigestion (dyspepsia).
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
- Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).
- Muscle cramps.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Seizures not caused by epilepsy.
- Symptoms of menopause.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyWhen taken by mouth: Passion flower is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in food-flavoring amounts. It is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken as a tea nightly for 7 nights, or as a medicine for up to 8 weeks. It may cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for most people when taken by mouth in large amounts, such as 3.5 grams of a specific extract (Sedacalm by Bioplus Healthcare) over a 2-day period.
When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if passion flower is safe or what the side effects might be when applied to the skin.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Children: Passion flower is POSSIBLY SAFE for most children when taken by mouth for short periods of time. A specific passion flower product (Pasipay by Iran Darouk Pharmaceutical Company) has been used safely in children aged 6-13 years at a dose of 0.04 mg per kg body weight daily for up to 8 weeks.
Pregnancy : Passion flower is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. There are some reports of early labor and other problems when passion flower has been used in pregnancy. There are some chemicals in the passion flower plant that might cause the uterus to contract. Don't use passion flower if you are pregnant.
Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if passion flower is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Surgery: Passion flower might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. It might increase the effects of anesthesia and other medications on the brain during and after surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking passion flower within 2 weeks of a scheduled surgery.
Be cautious with this combination
Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with PASSIONFLOWER
Passionflower might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking passionflower along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some sedative medications include pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For anxiety: Capsules containing 400 mg of passion flower extract twice daily for 2-8 weeks has been used. Also, 45 drops of a liquid extract of passion flower has been used daily for up to one month.
- For reducing anxiety before surgery: 20 drops of a specific passion flower extract taken the evening before surgery and 90 minutes before the start of surgery has been used. Tablets of this product have also been used in a dose of 500 mg taken 90 minutes before the start of surgery. Passion flower 260 mg taken 30 minutes before dental surgery, or passion flower 1000 mg taken one hour before surgery has also been used. Also, 5 mL of syrup containing 700 mg of passion flower extract (Passiflora syrup by Sandoz) has been taken 30 minutes before surgery.
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- Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Chapter 1, Subchapter B, section 172.510: Natural flavoring substances and natural substances used in conjunction with flavors. www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=172.510 (accessed 02/22/16).
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- Kaviani N, Tavakoli M, Tabanmehr M, Havaei R. The efficacy of Passiflora incarnata Linnaeus in reducing dental anxiety in patients undergoing periodontal treatment. J Dent (Shiraz) 2013;14(2):68-72. View abstract.
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- Movafegh A, Alizadeh R, Hajimohamadi F, Esfehani F, Nejatfar M. Preoperative oral Passiflora incarnata reduces anxiety in ambulatory surgery patients: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Anesth Analg 2008;106:1728-32. View abstract.
- Ngan A, Conduit R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytother Res 2011;25:1153-9. View abstract.
- Nojoumi M, Ghaeli P, Salimi S, Sharifi A, Raisi F. Effects of Passion Flower Extract, as an Add-On Treatment to Sertraline, on Reaction Time in Patients ?with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study. Iran J Psychiatry. 2016;11(3):191-97. View abstract.
- Ozturk Z, Kalayci CC. Pregnancy outcomes in psychiatric patients treated with passiflora incarnata. Complement Ther Med. 2018 Feb;36:30-32. View abstract.
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- Rokhtabnak F, Ghodraty MR, Kholdebarin A, et al. Comparing the Effect of Preoperative Administration of Melatonin and Passiflora incarnata on Postoperative Cognitive Disorders in Adult Patients Undergoing Elective Surgery. Anesth Pain Med. 2016;7(1):e41238. View abstract.
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- Von Eiff M, Brunner H, Haegeli A, et al. Hawthorn / passion flower extract and improvement in physical exercise capacity of patients with dyspnoea Class II of the NYHA functional classifications. Acta Therapeutica 1994;20:47-66.
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