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Passion Flower

Traditionally the dried aerial parts of passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) have been used as a hypnotic (for insomnia), as a sedative and for gastrointestinal complains. Potentially active components are poorly classified to determine its use in these conditions and also its adverse effects are unclear. A related species of passion flower, passion fruit is used as a flavoring agent.

Health and passion flower  

  1. Passion flower along with hawthorn is studied for congestive heart failure treatment and for people with shortness of breath and difficulty in exercising. This combination is proved beneficial and people using it have shown improvement in symptoms.
    However it is difficult to isolate only the effects of passion flower in these conditions as hawthorn is more commonly used in the treatment of congestive heart failure.
  2. Passion flower is used as a sedative for insomnia cure, anxiety, restlessness or agitation. However to draw a firm conclusion and recommend passion flower in these condition, more strong scientific researches are required.
  3. Traditionally based on scientific theories passion flower is used as antibacterial, alcohol withdrawal, aphrodisiac, anti-spasm, anti-seizure, asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cancer, cough, pain, burns, drug addiction, gastrointestinal discomfort, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure, menopause symptoms (hot flashes), tension and wrinkle prevention. Recommendation of passion flower in these conditions should be supported with scientific researches.

Side effects of passion flower

  1. Few adverse effects related to passion flower are been reported and it is generally considered as a safe herb.
  2. Some side effects include rapid heart rate and rhythm, drowsiness, mental slowing, sedation, nausea and vomiting. Thus a person should drive or operate heavy machineries with caution.
  3. Passion flower may alter the blood tests that measure blood clotting (international normalized ratio) and also increase the risk of bleeding theoretically.
  4. Passion flower when taken with kava is related to liver failure and death. But as kava is more associated with liver damage this effect is less likely to be related to passion flower.
  5. As passion flower have lycopene, it may have additive effects when taken with lycopene supplements.
  6. Passion flower is not recommended in pregnancy and lactation as not enough evidence is present and some components of Passiflora were also associated with uterine stimulant action. Tinctures that contain high level of alcohol should be avoided in pregnancy.
Passion flower may also react with some drugs or herbal or dietary supplements, thus it is advisable to take passion flower supplements in recommended doses under the guidance of a health care specialist.

Submitted on January 16, 2014