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Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)

Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Passion flower is a climbing vine that is native to the southeastern United States, and Central and South America. It was used as a food plant and in traditional medicine as a sedative. The above ground parts are used to make medicine.

Passion flower is taken by mouth for sleep problems (insomnia), anxiety, adjustment disorder, indigestion, pain, fibromyalgia, muscle cramps, diarrhea, relieving symptoms related to narcotic drug withdrawal, and reducing anxiety and nervousness before surgery.

Passion flower is also taken by mouth for seizures, asthma, symptoms of menopause, premenstrual symptoms, menstrual cramps, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), palpitations, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure.

Some people apply passion flower to the skin for hemorrhoids, burns, and swelling (inflammation).

In foods and beverages, passion flower extract is used as a flavoring.

In 1569, Spanish explorers discovered passion flower in Peru. They believed the flowers symbolized Christ's passion. Passionflower was formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S., but this approval was withdrawn in 1978 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the class and manufacturers did not submit evidence of safety and effectiveness.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 work?

The chemicals in passion flower have calming and sleep-inducing effects.

Traditionally used for

Anxiety before surgery.
A psychiatric disorder known as "adjustment disorder with anxious mood."
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Heart failure.
Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
Narcotic drug withdrawal.
Heart problems.


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 4 weeks.

For reducing anxiety before surgery: 20 drops of a specific passion flower extract (Pasipay by Iran Darouk Pharmaceutical Company) 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. Also, 5 mL of syrup containing 700 mg of passion flower extract (Passiflora syrup by Sandoz) has been taken 30 minutes before surgery.

Possible Side Effects

Passionflower is SAFE for most people when used in food-flavoring amounts. It is SAFE when taken as a tea nightly for 7 nights, or as a medicine for up to 8 weeks. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts, such as 3.5 grams of a specific extract (Sedacalm, Bioplus Healthcare, Australia) 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 passion flower when applied to the skin.

There isn't enough information to rate the safety of passionflower when applied to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don't take passionflower if you are pregnant. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. There are some chemicals in the passion flower plant that might cause the uterus to contract.

Not enough is known about the safety of taking passionflower during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don't use it.

Surgery: Passionflower can affect the central nervous system. It might increase the effects of anasthesia and other medications on the brain during and after surgery. Stop taking passionflower at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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