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Information about Passionflower

Passionflower is an extract of the flowers of the plant Passiflora incarnata that is claimed to have natural sedative properties and to be useful for treatment of anxiety and insomnia. 

Liver safety of Passionflower

Passionflower has not been implicated in causing serum enzyme elevations or clinically apparent liver injury.  

Mechanism of action of Passionflower

Passionflower is a flowering plant, extracts of which have been used as a mild sedative and sleeping aid.  The genus Passiflora includes more than 500 species which typically have complex and unique structures and flowers, and are found throughout much of the world.  Passiflora incarnata (maypop) is indigenous to the United States and Central and South America and was used by Native Americans to treat insomnia, hysteria, epilepsy and as a mild analgesic.  Passionflower contains several flavonoids (apigenin, benzoflavone and others), harmala alkaloids (hamaline, harmalol, harmine and harmol), coumarins, maltol, phytosterols and glycosides.  Studies in animals suggest that extracts of passionflower have sedative, anxiolytic, analgesic and antispasmodic effects. 

Clinical use of Passionflower

The herb is used most frequently as a mild sleeping medication, sedative, and treatment for gastrointestinal complaints often in the form of an herbal tea, but also in multiple herbal preparations, generally in combination with other agents including valerian, hops and lavender.  Passionflower is also used in creams, lotions, soaps and cosmetics. 

Side effects of Passionflower

Side effects of oral use include dizziness, sedation, confusion and ataxia.

Herbal and dietary supplements

Chinese and Other Asian Herbal Medicines

Multi-Ingredient Nutritional Supplements

See also Nutritional supplements
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Medication resources

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