BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPassionflowerPassiflora incarnata; Maypop Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) was used traditionally in the Americas and later in Europe as a calming herb for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hysteria. It is still used today to treat anxiety and insomnia. Scientists believe passionflower works by increasing levels of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA lowers the activity of some brain cells, making you feel more relaxed.The effects of passionflower tend to be milder than other herbs used to treat anxiety including valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and kava (Piper methysticum). Passionflower is often combined with valerian, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), or other calming herbs. Few scientific studies have tested passionflower as a treatment for anxiety or insomnia, however. Because passionflower is often combined with other calming herbs, it is difficult to tell what effects passionflower has on its own.Studies of people with generalized anxiety disorder show that passionflower is as effective as the drug oxazepam (Serax) for treating symptoms. Passionflower didn't work as quickly as oxazepam (day 7 compared to day 4). However, it produced less impairment on job performance than oxazepam. Other studies show that patients who were given passionflower before surgery had less anxiety than those given a placebo, but they recovered from anesthesia just as quickly. Plant DescriptionNative to southeastern parts of the Americas, passionflower is now grown throughout Europe. It is a perennial climbing vine with herbaceous shoots and a sturdy woody stem that grows to a length of nearly 10 meters (about 32 feet). Each flower has 5 white petals and 5 sepals that vary in color from magenta to blue. According to folklore, passionflower got its name because its corona resembles the crown of thorns worn by Jesus during the crucifixion. The passionflower's ripe fruit is an egg-shaped berry that may be yellow or purple. Some kinds of passionfruit are edible.Parts UsedThe above-ground parts (flowers, leaves, and stems) of the passionflower are used for medicinal purposes.Available FormsAvailable forms include the following:Infusions Teas Liquid extracts TincturesHow to Take ItPediatricNo studies have examined the effects of passionflower in children, so DO NOT give passionflower to a child without a doctor's supervision. Adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight.AdultSpeak to your doctor for specific recommendations for your condition.PrecautionsThe use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.DO NOT take passionflower if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.For others, passionflower is generally considered to be safe and nontoxic in recommended doses and for less than 2 months at a time.Possible InteractionsPassionflower may interact with the following medications:Sedatives (drugs that cause sleepiness)Because of its calming effect, passionflower may make the effects of sedative medications stronger. These medications include:Anticonvulsants such as phenytoin (Dilantin) Barbiturates Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) Drugs for insomnia, such as zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata), eszopiclone (Lunesta), ramelteon (Rozerem) Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine, doxepin (Sinequan), and nortriptyline (Pamelor) Antiplatelets and anticoagulants (blood thinners)Passionflower may increase the amount of time blood needs to clot, so it could make the effects of blood-thinning medications stronger and increase your risk of bleeding. Blood-thinning drugs include:Clopidogrel (Plavix) Warfarin (Coumadin) Aspirin Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO inhibitors or MAOIs)MAO inhibitors are an older class of antidepressants that are not often prescribed now. Theoretically, passionflower might increase the effects of MAOIs, as well as their side effects, which can be dangerous. These drugs include:Isocarboxazid (Marplan) Phenelzine (Nardil) Tranylcypromine (Parnate) Supporting ResearchAkhondzadeh S, Naghavi HR, Vazirian M, Shayeganpour A, Rashidi H, Khani M. Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2001;26:369-373.Akhondzadeh S. Passionflower in the treatment of opiates withdrawal: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2001;26:369-373.Barbosa PR, Valvassori SS, Bordignon CL Jr, et al. The aqueous extracts of Passiflora alata and Passiflora edulis reduce anxiety-related behaviors without affecting memory process in rats. J Med Food. 2008;11:282-288.Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:293-296.Dhawan K, Kumar S, Sharma A. Anxiolytic activity of aerial and underground parts of Passifloraincarnata. Fitoterapia. 2001;72:922-926.Dhawan K, Kumar S, Sharma A. Anti-anxiety studies on extracts of Passiflora incarnata Linneaus. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001;78:165-70.Elsas SM, Rossi DJ, Raber J, et al. Passionflora incarnata L. (Passionflower) extracts elicit GABA currents in hippocampal neurons in vitro, and show anxiogenic and anticonvulsant effects in vivo, varying with extraction method. Phytomedicine. 2010;17:940-949.Ernst E, ed. Passionflower. The Desktop Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Edinburgh: Mosby; 2001:140-141.Grundmann O, Wang J, McGregor GP, Butterweck V. Anxiolytic Activity of a Phytochemically Characterized Passiflora incarnata Extract is Mediated via the GABAergic System. Planta Med. 2008;74:1769-1773.Jawna-Zboinska K, Blecharz-Klin K, Joniec-Maciejak I, et al. Passiflora incarnata L. Improves Spatial Memory, Reduces Stress, and Affects Neurotransmission in Rats. Phytother Res. 2016;30(5):781-789.Lakhan SE, Vieira KF. Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review. Nutr J. 2010;9:42.Larzelere MM, Wiseman P. Anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Prim Care. 2002;29:339-360, vii. Review.Miyasaka L, Atallah A, Soares B. Passiflora for anxiety disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;(1):CD004518.Modabbernia A, Akhondzadeh S. Saffron, passionflower, valerian, and sage for mental health. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2013;36(1):85-91.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;106:1728-1732.Rotblatt M, Ziment I. Evidence-Based Herbal Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Hanley & Belfus, Inc; 2002;294-297.Sarris J. Herbal medicines in the treatment of psychiatric disorders: a systematic review. Phytother Res. 2007;21:703-716. Review.Watson RR, Zibadi S, Rafatpanah H, et al. Oral administration of the purple passion fruit peel extract reduces wheeze and cough and improves shortness of breath in adults with asthma. Nutr Res. 2008;28:166-171.Text only AllVideoImagesTogPassionflowerPassionflowerIllustrationPassionflowerPassionflowerIllustrationThe Basics Advanced Study AnxietyRelated Information Herbs with Similar Side EffectsView List by Side EffectHerbs with Similar UsesView List by UseHerbs with Similar WarningsView List by WarningUses of this HerbAnxietyAttention deficit hyperactivity disorderInsomniaSeizure disordersLearn More AboutHerbal medicinehide Review Date: 1/1/2017 Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. 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