- Indications with possible efficacy:
Mild sleeping problems Nervous unrest
- Indications with possible, but poorly documented efficacy :
- Other indications with no proof of efficacy:
Attention deficit disorder in children
Cardiac rhythm abnormalities
Hemorrhoids - topical use
- Risk of Drug Interactions: Moderate
- Adverse Effects: Rare
Part of the plant used: aboveground parts (leaves and stems)
Because of its great beauty, passionflower is a very popular plant. People use it as an ornamental plant in their garden around the world. It is found in all the Americas. When talking about passionflower, people usually refer to Passiflora incarnata used for its medicinal properties. Interestingly, there is more than 400 different species in the genus Passiflora. The applicable parts of passionflower contain flavonoids, cyanogenic glycosides, alcaloids (harmans), maltol, coumarins and several other substances. Passionflower's properties are usually attributed to its active flavonoids and alcaloids.
Direction of use
- Nervous unrest:
Aboveground parts - 250 mg to 2 g 3 to 4 times a day. Average doses range from 4 to 8 grams daily.
Tea - 2.0 to 2.5 grams in 150 ml of boiling water. Let infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Take 1 to 4 times a day.
Liquid extract (1:1 in 25% alcohol) - 0.5 to 1.0 ml 3 times per day.
Tincture (1:8 in 45% alcohol) - 0.5 to 2.0 ml 3 times per day.
- Mild insomnia:
Even though passionflower has been proven effective in this indication, no dosage recommendations can be found in literature.
- Opiate withdrawal:
To attenuate some withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, irritability, insomnia and agitation) when used in combination with clonidine.
Used doses: 60 drops of liquid extract in combination with 0.8 mg of clonidine has been used daily.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that passionflower is effective in any other indication.
- Side effects
Passionflower is not associated with any severe toxicity; when recommended doses are used, it should not be a health risk. In fact, it has been used for centuries with no reports of specific problems. Adverse reactions include dizziness, confusion and loss of coordination. People should avoid large amounts since passionflower could depress (slow) the central nervous system.
Taking it in combination with barbiturates, sedatives or tranquilizers may increase its sedative effect. Before taking passionflower, check with your pharmacist to make sure that there are no interactions with your regular medication.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Passionflower is contraindicated in pregnant women because it may cause uterine stimulation. There is insufficient reliable data concerning breast-feeding to support its use. Pregnant and lactating women should thus avoid this product.
- Passionflower appears to have significant sedative and antianxiety properties with minimal toxicity. It is often found in combination with other plants (most often valerian).
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2010
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- Peirce, Andrea. Practical Guide to Natural Medicines, APha, 1999
- Facts & Comparisons, The Lawrence review of natural products, 1998
- Passeportsanté.net. Passiflore. www.passeportsante.net
- Barnes J. et Al. Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition, Pharmaceutical Press, 2002
- Rotblatt M. et Ziment I. Evidence-Based Herbal Medicine, Hanley & Belfus, 2002
- Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide, 2000-2001
- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.