Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • August 2016
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Passionflower — Passiflora incarnata L.

Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers learned of passionflower in Peru. Native peoples of the Americas used passionflower for boils, wounds, earaches and liver problems. Today, passionflower is used as a dietary supplement for anxiety, stress and sleep, as well as for heart ailments, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, burns, and hemorrhoids. Passionflower is available dried (which can be used to make tea), or as liquid extract, capsules, or tablets.

How much do we know?

Passionflower’s effect on anxiety hasn’t been studied extensively. A 2009 systematic review of two studies that included 198 people compared the ability of passionflower and two drugs to reduce anxiety. It concluded that the three substances had about the same degree of minimal effectiveness.

There isn’t enough evidence to draw conclusions about passionflower for cardiovascular conditions, asthma, hemorrhoids, burns or sleep.

What do we know about safety?

Passionflower is generally considered to be safe but may cause dizziness and confusion.

Taking passionflower with a sedative may increase the risk of excessive sleepiness.

Passionflower should not be used during pregnancy as it may induce contractions.

Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Source: “Herbs at a Glance: Passionflower.” National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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