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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 Passionflower was formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S., but this approval was withdrawn in 1978 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the class and manufacturers did not submit evidence of safety and effectiveness.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 it work?
The chemicals in passion flower have calming and sleep-inducing effects.
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.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- A psychiatric disorder known as "adjustment disorder with anxious mood." . When used in a multi-ingredient product (Euphytose, 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 suggests that passion flower reduces some symptoms of ADHD in children aged 6-13 years when taken by mouth for 8 weeks.
- 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 suggests 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.
- Narcotic drug withdrawal. Early research suggests 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 a narcotic detoxification program.
- Heart problems.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Passionflower is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in food-flavoring amounts. It is POSSIBLY 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.
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 anesthesia and other medications on the brain during and after surgery. Stop taking passionflower at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Sedative medications (CNS depressants)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Passionflower might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking passionflower along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
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 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.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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