Natural Health Products

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General Information

Passionflower was given its name by Spanish explorers and missionaries in South America, who used parts of the flower as allegories for parts of the passion (suffering and crucifixion) of Jesus. The active ingredients that give passionflower its medicinal properties come from the aerialaerialplant parts appearing above ground (above-ground) parts of the plant.

Common Name(s)
passionflower, apricot vine, water lemon
Scientific Name(s)
Passiflora incarnata L. (Passifloraceae)
How is this product usually used?

Passionflower is taken by mouth. The aerialaerialplant parts appearing above ground parts of the plant is prepared into tea, infusioninfusionthe process of steeping or soaking plant material in hot or cold water to isolate its active ingredient, tincturetincturea desired active ingredient that is extracted from alcoholic solution or fluid extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredient.The usual dose of passionflower for individuals 13 years and older is 0.25 g to 8 g of dried aerial parts per day, usually divided into 1 to 4 doses.

What is this product used for?

Passionflower has been traditionally used in herbal medicine to improve sleep (especially in cases of restlessness or insomnia due to mental stress).

Passionflower has also been used to treat anxiety, asthma, burns, and congestive heart failure, and used in combination with clonidine to relieve symptoms of narcotic withdrawal. However, there is insufficient evidence for the effectiveness of passionflower in these conditions and additional studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Passionflower is likely safe for most individuals when taken in recommended amounts for up to 2 months. Reported side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm, and muscle incoordination.

Passionflower can cause drowsiness. Do not drive or perform any activies requiring mental alertness if passionflower affects you this way.

See your doctor if your symptoms persist (for longer than 3 weeks) or worsen when taking passionflower.

Avoiding using passionflower during pregnancy, as it may cause premature contractions. There is not enough evidence on its use during breast-feeding. Consult a health care provider if you are thinking of taking passionflower while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Stop taking passionflower at least 2 weeks before surgeries.

Do not use passionflower if you:

  • are allergic to passionflower or any other plant in the family of Passifloraceae
  • are pregnant

Passionflower may interact with the following medications:

  • alcohol
  • agents with sedativesedativean agent that induces sleep, relaxes, and reduces tension effects
  • anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin)
  • antiplatelets (e.g., clopidogrel)
  • ASA (e.g., Aspirin®)
  • caffeine
  • ginkgo biloba
  • garlic
  • kava
  • medications that can lower blood pressure
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (e.g., phenelzine)
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • saw palmetto

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

  1. Health Canada. Drugs & Health Products. Monograph – Passionflower. (Accessed 03 July 2014)
  2. Passion flower. Natural Standard – The Authority on Integrative Medicine. https://naturalmedicines-therapeuticresearch-com /databases/food,-herbs-supplements/p/passion-flower/bottom-line.aspx#dosingAdults (Accessed 03 July 2014)
  3. Passionflower. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). (Accessed 03 July 2014)
  4. Passionflower. MedlinePlus. (Accessed 03 July 2014)
  5. Passion flower monograph. Lexicomp. /lco/action/doc/retrieve/docid/fc_rnp2/3750290#inter-nested (Accessed 03 July 2014)

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