Passionflower has been shown to reduce anxiety in patients taking the oral supplement prior to outpatient surgical procedures. Passionflower supplementation in tea has shown short-term subjective sleep benefits for healthy adults.
Passionflower, Passiflora incarnata, is a plant found native to the southern United States, Central and South America. Native American and Aztec cultures have used the plant for centuries citing its calming and healing properties.
Passionflower contains sleep-promoting flavonoids that have affinity for central benzodiazepine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. Increased GABA activity creates a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Dosing and Administration
Standard supplement doses come in 350-1,050 mg taken 2 to 3 times daily for a total dose of 1-3g daily.
Side effects are rare but include drowsiness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
No studies have examined the effects of Passionflower in children. Consultation with a physician is recommended. Do not take Passionflower while pregnant or breastfeeding. Passionflower may interact with the following mediations: Sedatives, Antiplatelet/Anticoagulants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
Movafegh A, et al. Preoperative oral Passiflora incarnate reduces anxiety in ambulatory surgery patients: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Anesth Analg. 2008 Jun;106(6):1728-32.
NganA, Conduit R. A double-bling, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnate (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytother Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):1153-9.
Spielholz C. Passion Flowers: Exciting Results when Traditional Knowledge is Confirmed by Modern Science. Nutraceutical Medical Research Industry News. Vol 2, Issue 2, May 2009.
Loli F, Sato CM, et al. Possible involvement of GABAa-benzodiazepine receptor in the anxiolytic-like effect oinduced by Passiflora actinia extracts in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;111:308-14.
Bystritsky A. Complementary and alternative treatments for anxiety symptoms and disorders: Herbs and medications. UpToDate. Jan 2018.