Passion Flower herb and extract for stress relief by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Feb 12 2014

Passionflower or Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) is a plant native to North America, found mostly in the Midwest and Southeast. Passionflower has been used as folk remedy to treat anxiety. Studies show extracts of passion flower have anti anxiety and aphrodisiac properties.

Passion Flower benefits
This herb is helpful in some people in reducing restlessness, anxiety, and nervousness and helping with sleep. It also has mild anti-cough properties. Good Night Rx with passion flower extract is helpful as a sleep aid for occasional sleeplessness nights. Other herbs that are used to relieve stress include ashwagandha (half a capsule), kava, and valerian. Nutrients that help reduce anxiety or stress include 5-HTP and tryptophan. Another nutrient to consider for relaxation is theanine. You can find passion flower in Passion Rx, an all natural herbal formula for sexual enhancement.

buy Passion Flower supplement 200 mg per pill


Each Capsule contains:
Passion Flower-  200 mg
     (Passiflora species) flower and leaf

Suggested Use: 1 passion flower capsule daily or as directed by a qualified healthcare professional.
you can find passion flower tea in a health food store.


 

Buy Passion-Flower product
What's in passion flower herb?
Passionflower herb contains flavonoids, sterols, cholorogenic acid, volatile oil, and traces of alkaloids (including harmine, harman). The methanol extracts of leaves, stems, flowers, and whole plant exhibit anti-anxiety effects. The roots are practically devoid of anti-anxiety effects. This means the leaves seem to contain the most concentration of the active ingredients.

Passion Flower and anxiety
A double-blind randomized trial compared the efficacy of passion flower extract with oxazepam in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. The study was performed on 36 out-patients diagnosed with anxiety allocated in a random fashion: 18 to the passion flower extract 45 drops/day plus placebo tablet group, and 18 to oxazepam 30 mg/day plus placebo drops for a 4-week trial. Passion flower extract and oxazepam were effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Significantly more problems relating to impairment of job performance were encountered with subjects on oxazepam. The results suggest that passion flower extract is an effective herb for the management of generalized anxiety disorder, and the low incidence of impairment of job performance with passion flower extract compared to oxazepam is an advantage.

Effects of chronic administration of Melissa officinalis extract on anxiety-like reactivity and on circadian and exploratory activities in mice.
Phytomedicine. 2010.
This study aimed to determine the effects of chronic (15 consecutive days of treatment) administration of Melissa officinalis extract Cyracos by Naturex on anxiety-like reactivity in mice. Cyracos contains significant amounts of rosmarinic acid and the triterpenoids oleanolic acid and ursolic acid, which inhibit gamma-aminobutyric acid transaminase activity and increase GABA levels in the brain. Thus, we evaluated Cyracos use in independent groups of mice with regard to anxiety-like reactivity in an elevated plus maze and an open field task. Cyracos significantly reduced anxiety-like reactivity in the elevated plus maze dose-dependently, but no significant effect was observed in the open field task.

Oral preoperative administration of Passiflora incarnata suppresses the increase in anxiety before spinal anesthesia without changing psychomotor function test results, sedation level, or hemodynamics. J Anesthesia. 2011.

Passion flower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam.
J Clin Pharm Ther. 2001.
A double-blind randomized trial compared the efficacy of Passion flower extract with oxazepam in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. The study was performed on 36 out-patients diagnosed with GAD using DSM IV criteria. Patients were allocated in a random fashion: 18 to the Passion flower extract 45 drops/day plus placebo tablet group, and 18 to oxazepam 30 mg/day plus placebo drops for a 4-week trial. Passion flower extract and oxazepam were effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. No significant difference was observed between the two protocols at the end of trial. Oxazepam showed a rapid onset of action. On the other hand, significantly more problems relating to impairment of job performance were encountered with subjects on oxazepam. Passion flower extract is an effective drug for the management of generalized anxiety disorder, and the low incidence of impairment of job performance with Passion flower extract compared to oxazepam is an advantage.

Aphrodisiac benefit of passion flower herb
Compounds within passion flower have exhibited aphrodisiac, libido-enhancing and virility-enhancing properties in rats. When administered together with nicotine, ethanol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol for 30 days in male rats, passion flower prevented the drug-induced decline in sexuality in male rats.
   The aphrodisiac properties of the methanol extract of leaves of passion flower have also been evaluated in mice by observing the mounting behavior. The methanol extract of passion flower exhibited significant aphrodisiac behavior in male mice.

Aphrodisiac activity of methanol extract of leaves of Passion Flower in mice.
Phytother Res. 2003.
The aphrodisiac properties of the methanol extract of leaves of passion flower have been evaluated in mice by observing the mounting behavior. The methanol extract of Passion flower herb exhibited significant aphrodisiac behavior in male mice at all doses, i.e. 75, 100 and 150 mg/kg. Amongst these, the highest activity was observed with the 100 mg/kg dose when the mountings were calculated about 95 min after the administration of the passion flower extracts.

Passion Rx  -- Physician formulated for Men and Women for sexual enhancement
This herbal sex enhancing product is physician formulated by Dr. Sahelian and his research staff have tested various doses and extracts of dozens of herbs from a number or raw material suppliers to determine the ideal dosage and combination for optimal aphrodisiac properties with the fewest side effects. Passion Rx supports and enhances healthy:

Libido and sexual thoughts
Erectile function
Orgasms and climaxes
Energy and stamina 

The potent herbal extracts and nutrients include acetylcarnitine, ashwagandha, catuaba, cnidium monnieri, DMAE, horny goat weed extract, maca, mucuna pruriens, muira puama, passion flower, rhodiola, tribulus terrestris, tongkat ali and yohimbe.

Epilepsy or seizures
This herb has been used for the treatment of epilepsy in several traditional systems of medicine. The aerial parts contain multiple bioactive metabolites such as, flavonoids (like, chrysin that show CNS depressant activity by agonizing GABA-benzodiazepine receptor), amino acids (like, GABA), harmala alkaloids (reversible monoamine oxidase-A inhibitor), etc. The results of present study in mice concludes that extract of passionflower suppresses PTZ-induced seizures, and ameliorates its associated post-ictal depression, which has been found to be get worsened with the standard antiepileptic drug, diazepam. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012. Dual protective effect of Passiflora incarnata in epilepsy and associated post-ictal depression.

Sedative and for sleep, use for insomnia
Indian J Pharmacol. 2013. Efficacy and safety of a polyherbal sedative-hypnotic formulation NSF-3 in primary insomnia in comparison to zolpidem: a randomized controlled trial. To assess the efficacy and safety of NSF-3, a polyherbal sedative-hypnotic (containing standardized extracts of Valeriana officinalis, Passiflora incarnate and Humulus lupulus), in comparison to zolpidem in primary insomnia. NSF-3 is a safe and effective short-term alternative to zolpidem for primary insomnia. It remains to be explored whether the benefits are sustained and whether there is dependence liability with this formulation upon long term use.

Phytother Res. 2011. A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Forty-one participants (18-35 years) were exposed to each treatment for a week, whereby they consumed a cup of the tea and filled out a sleep diary for 7 days, and completed Spielberger's state-trait anxiety inventory on the seventh morning. Ten participants also underwent overnight PSG on the last night of each treatment period. Of six sleep-diary measures analysed, sleep quality showed a significantly better rating for passionflower compared with placebo. Our initial findings suggest that the consumption of a low dose of passion flower, in the form of tea, yields short-term subjective sleep benefits for healthy adults with mild fluctuations in sleep quality.

Pharmacological studies on the sedative and hypnotic effect of Kava kava and passiflora extracts combination.
Phytomedicine. 2005.
Kava kava extract, passion flower extract and a combination of both extracts, administered to mice, caused a significant decrease of the amphetamine-induced hypermotility and significant prolongation of sleeping phase induced by subcutaneous injection of barbiturates. Due to a synergism of both extracts, simultaneously administered the pharmacologically registered effect in both in vivo experiments was found to be superior over the sum of the single separately administered extracts.

The consumption of passionflower tea yields short-term subjective sleep benefits for healthy adults with mild fluctuations in sleep quality. Phytother Res. 2011.A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality.

Passion Flower -- a reliable herbal sedative
Wien Med Wochenschr. 2002.
Extracts and fluid extracts from the aerial parts from passion flower are widely used as components of herbal sedatives. Many pharmacological investigations confirm the sedative effects of passion flower. From some of the studies also anxiolytic effects can be deduced. As passion flower is mainly used in combinations, clinical studies of the single drug are not available. Based on pharmacological data, the experiences of traditional use and the use in combinations passion flower extracts are an important factor in the phytotherapy of tenseness, restlessness and irritability with difficulty in falling asleep.


Passion flower dosage
This herb can be used as a tea, 2 to 4 grams of the dried herb two times a day (one teaspoon is usually about 2 to 3 grams). Passion flower is also available as fluid or tincture extract (follow directions on the bottle). Capsules of the dried herbal extract are available from 200 to 400 mg, taken once or twice a day or as needed to reduce stress. Passion flower is often combined with valerian and other sedative herbs. Recently high concentration extracts have been available, for instance passion flower 10:1 extract, which means it would be about ten times as potent as regular passion flower herb.
Passion flower extracts do exist in various potencies, but they are available in capsule form. We are not aware of passion flower extract being sold in raw powder form in a bag.

Passion Flower side effects, safety, risk
No major side effects have been reported with passion flower in the medical journal. It may be wise to avoid the combination of passion flower and sedative drugs such as the benzodiazepines. One obvious side effect is sedation.

Opiate withdrawal
The extract may be an effective adjuvant agent in the management of opiate withdrawal.

Interactions with medications
Is it ok to take a natural herb to fight anxiety, like passionflower, along with a benzodiazepine? And can it help during the weaning process of coming down from a benzodiazepine?
   It is possible that this herb could be of benefit, and one would initially begin with lower dosages.


Passion Flower herb research
Antiasthmatic activity of the methanol extract of leaves of Passiflora incarnata.
Phytother Res. 2003.
The methanol extract of the leaves of passion flower was evaluated for its antiasthmatic effects against acetylcholine chloride (Ach)-induced-bronchospasm in guinea-pigs. Using a 7-day treatment regimen, significant prevention of dyspnea-related-convulsions was noted in the animals treated with passion flower extract.
 

Passion Flower in the treatment of opiates withdrawal: a double-blind randomized controlled trial.
J Clin Pharm Ther. 2001.
In our continuing study of traditional medicines, which have neurotropic effects, passionflower had an anxiolytic effect, which may be used as an adjuvant agent in the detoxification of opiates by clonidine. We present the results of a double-blind randomized controlled trial of clonidine plus passionflower extract vs. clonidine plus placebo in the outpatient detoxification of 65 opiates addicts. A total of 65 opiates addicts were assigned randomly to treatment with passion flower extract plus clonidine tablet or clonidine tablet plus placebo drop during a 14-day double-blind clinical trial. The fixed daily dose was 60 drops of passionflower extract and a maximum daily dose of 0.8 mg of clonidine administered in three divided doses. Both protocols were equally effective in treating the physical symptoms of withdrawal syndromes. However, the passionflower plus clonidine group showed a significant superiority over clonidine alone in the management of mental symptoms. These results suggested that passion flower extract may be an effective adjuvant agent in the management of opiate withdrawal. However, a larger study to confirm our results is warranted.

Emails
What do you think of a product that has the combination of valerian and passion flower ?
   This may be an effective product for anxiety, but it really depends on the dosage and extract potencies of the valerian and passion flower that is used in the herbal combination.

Will passion flower make me sleepy during the day? Or can my body become used to it where I can take it for anxiety and depression?
   Different people have different reactions and it depends on the passion flower dose, and if you are concerned about sleepiness, consider opening the capsule and taking half to see how your body reacts. As to getting used to it, again each person is different on how they respond with time to passion flower and what kind of tolerance, if any, they develop.

I suffer from severe anxiety and everything that I have been trying to combat it is not working, or my body eventually adapts to it. I was browsing your website, and it said that this herbal supplement could possibly be dangerous when taking it for long amounts of time. I had planned on taking four days out of the week in capsule form at 1000mg, and I was curious if this would be too much? I have read about other people taking it at much more than that, so I was just wondering. Also, I suffer from a heart murmur. I have had it since I was a baby, but it is barely a murmur, it is almost undetectable. I wanted to make sure that Passion Flower would not interact with that at all? Also, I used to suffer from Epilepsy, from the time that I was ten until twelve, and I wanted to make sure that it would not react negatively to that. I have not had a seizure since I was twelve, and I wasn't sure if they would react.
   I think taking the herb a few times a week seems to be safe as long a full week off is taken once every month or two. I have not seen studies regarding its use in those with heart murmurs or those with a history of seizures.