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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.
Some people take passion flower by mouth for sleep problems (insomnia), anxiety, adjustment disorder, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), pain, fibromyalgia, relieving opioid withdrawal symptoms, reducing anxiety and nervousness before surgery, and heart failure.
Some people apply passion flower directly to the skin for hemorrhoids, burns, and swelling (inflammation).
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Passion flower was formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S., but this approval was withdrawn in 1978 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the class and manufacturers did not submit evidence of safety and effectiveness.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
- A psychiatric disorder known as "adjustment disorder with anxious mood." When used in a multi-ingredient product (Euphytose by EUP), passion flower might help reduce symptoms associated with adjustment disorder with anxious modd. Other herbs in the product are crataegus, ballota, and valerian, which have mild sedative effects, and cola and paullinia, which have stimulant effects. It's not clear which ingredient or ingredients in the mix are responsible for decreasing anxiety in people with this condition.
- 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
- Heart failure. Early research shows that taking a combination of passion flower and hawthorn by mouth for 6 weeks increases six-minute walking distance but not exercise capacity during a bicycle exercise in people with mild heart failure.
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia). Early research shows that drinking a passionflower tea an hour before bedtime for 7 nights improves people's ratings of their sleep quality. Also, taking a product containing passion flower, valerian, and hops (NSF-3 by M/s Tablets India) by mouth for 2 weeks improves sleep similar to zolpidem in people with insomnia.
- Opioid withdrawal. 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.
- Heart problems.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyPassionflower is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in food-flavoring amounts. It is POSSIBLY SAFE for most peoplewhen taken as a tea nightly for 7 nights, or as a medicine for up to 8 weeks. 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.
Passion flower can cause some side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
There isn't enough information to rate the safety of passionflower 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 and breast-feeding: Passion flower is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during 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.
Not enough is known about the safety of taking passionflower during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don't use it.
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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- 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.
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