- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: passion flower
Brand and Other Names: apricot vine, corona de cristo, Fleischfarbige, fleur de la passion, flor de passion, maypop, passiflora incarnata, passion vine, purple passion flower, water lemon, wild passion flower
Drug Class: Herbals
What is passion flower, and what is it used for?
Passion flower is a vine (Passiflora incarnata) with white and blue or purple flowers native to the Americas and also grown widely in Europe. Passion flower has an edible fruit and its leaves, stem and flowers have been traditionally used as herbal medicine to treat anxiety, insomnia hysteria, epilepsy, and as a mild pain reliever (analgesic).
Passion flower contains bioactive compounds and its medicinal benefits are believed to be from flavonoids such as apigenin. Animal studies indicate that passion flower extracts may have sedative, anxiety-relieving (anxiolytic), analgesic, and antispasmodic effects. Passion flower is thought to work by enhancing the levels and activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the primary inhibitory chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) in the brain.
Passion flower continues to be widely used as a mild herbal remedy for insomnia and anxiety, however, there are insufficient scientific studies on its safety and efficacy. Passion flower is often used in combination with other herbs, which makes it difficult to identify its own effects. Passion flower was formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S., but this approval was withdrawn in 1978 when the FDA reviewed the class and manufacturers did not submit evidence of safety and effectiveness.
Passion flower is available in various formulations such as dried extracts, liquid extracts, tinctures, and teas. Passion flower is also used in creams, lotions, soaps, and cosmetics, and as flavoring in foods and beverages. Suggested uses of passion flower include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Anxiety and nervousness before surgery
- Adjustment disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Opiate drug withdrawal symptoms
- Cardiac rhythm abnormalities
- Muscle cramps
- Nerve pain (neuralgia)
- Gastrointestinal complaints
- Menstrual cramps, premenstrual and menopausal symptoms
- Hemorrhoids, burns, and swelling (topical use)
- Avoid taking passion flower concurrently with other sedative medications, it may have additive effects.
What are the side effects of passion flower?
Common side effects of passion flower include:
- Altered consciousness
- Impaired coordination, balance and speech (ataxia)
- Liver toxicity
- Blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis)
- Pancreas toxicity
- Heart rhythm disturbance (prolonged QT interval)
- Rapid rate of ventricular contractions (ventricular tachycardia)
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:
- Serious heart symptoms include fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness;
- Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady;
- Severe nervous system reaction with very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, and feeling like you might pass out; or
- Serious eye symptoms include blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of passion flower?
There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of passion flower might be.
General dosing guidelines:
- 0.25-2 g orally three times daily
- 1 cup orally two to three times daily and 30 min before bedtime; 0.25-2 g/150 ml water
- 0.5-1 ml orally three times daily; 1:1 in 25% alcohol
- 0.5-2 ml orally three times daily; 1:8 in 45% alcohol
- Liquid extract: 45 gtt (drops) orally daily
- Liquid extract: 60 gtt (drops) orally daily
- Passion flower overdose may cause confusion, drowsiness, and loss of coordination in some people.
- There is one report of a person developing nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, cardiac rhythm disturbance, and a rapid rate of contraction in the ventricles (ventricular tachycardia), after taking therapeutic doses of passion flower.
- Overdosage of passion flower may be treated with supportive and symptomatic therapy.
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What drugs interact with passion flower?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Passion flower has no known severe or serious interactions with other drugs.
- Passion flower has moderate interactions with at least 27 different drugs.
- Passion flower has no known mild interactions with other drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Passion flower extracts may induce uterine contractions. Do not use if you are pregnant.
- There is insufficient information on the safety of passion flower use by nursing mothers. Avoid use if you are breastfeeding.
What else should I know about passion flower?
- Passion flower is generally safe for most people if used in small amounts.
- Take passion flower supplements exactly as per label instructions.
- Store passion flower supplements safely out of reach of children.
- Passion flower supplements are marketed as herbal supplements and are not stringently regulated by the FDA. Products may differ in formulations and strengths, and there may be a discrepancy between the labeling and the actual ingredients and their amounts. Exercise caution in choosing your product.
- Check with your healthcare provider before taking any supplement, including passion flower.
Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) is an edible fruit that has been traditionally used as herbal medicine to treat anxiety, insomnia hysteria, epilepsy, and as a mild pain reliever (analgesic). Avoid taking passion flower concurrently with other sedative medications. Common side effects of passion flower include confusion, altered consciousness, impaired coordination/balance/speech (ataxia), dizziness, drowsiness, liver toxicity, blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis), nausea, vomiting, pancreas toxicity, heart rhythm disturbance (prolonged QT interval), and rapid ventricular contractions (ventricular tachycardia).
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