Saturday, September 19, 2020

Passionflower Benefits: Anti-Anxiety Effects?


Mild Anti-Anxiety Herb For Peaceful And Worry Free Mind

Passiflora incarnata or Passionflower is beneficial and useful in both traditional sense and those based on current clinical practice and  research. This  herb is good and safe as Anti-anxiety herb, herbal remedy for Insomnia and many other conditions.

Find the clinical research trial based actions of this botanical.

Research Studies & Passionflower:

Many research studies have been conducted for P. incarnata. Most of them were conducted in European countries. Studies were done on both human beings and animals. Like many other herbs, there is no single constituents that can be attributed P. incarnata’s actions.

Research to date indicates to a synergistic activity of the several components in this herb. But why are we chasing after the search of the appropriate active principle and concentrate our research on the beneficial effects of this herb?  Our ego (Sorry to say!, to unravel all the mysteries of the nature and esp. the sense to control everything), negligence of the holistic nature of herbs and nature and interest of big pharmacy companies come in the way.

Clinical Research Studies Based Effects Of Passionflower

P. incarnata & Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

In a pilot double blind randomized control trial with oxazepam found the passiflora extract to be an effective herb for the management of Generalized anxiety disorder. It has the added side-benefit of having low chances of job-impairment found with the use of oxazepam due to morning after side effects..

It works best in thin, nervous and easily stressed persons. Passiflora incarnata got the official approval of Commission E (1985) in Germany for its role in anxiety and insomnia. Kava and Valerian has quick action but the effect of Passiflora incarnata builds up in about a month.

Passionflower In Insomnia:

Insomnia is relieved with slightly higher doses taken at bed time. Sleeplessness caused by neurasthenic, hysteric patients and that found in Nervous exhaustion was successfully relieved by its use. Insomnia felt during convalescence of flu also responded well to this herb. The more effective sedative property was found in combination of both flavonoids and alkaloids i.e. whole herb extract. Muscle cramps at night also reduced.

German sleeping pill Vita Dor. (a multi-herb formula ) and Romanian new patent sedative chewing gum also contain it.

Passionflower In Seizures:

It diminishes the mild seizure activity and helpful in tics, muscle spasm from fright, anger. Passiflora coerulea has Chrysin, a flavonoid. It showed promising results in animal tests and it acted similar to Benzodiazepines in preventing induced seizures. Further reduction of stress and insomnia might add its value in seizures.

Passionflower’s Help To Addicts:

One of the best herbs in curbing the craving of anxiety in substance withdrawal. Helpful in quitting alcohol, opiates, cannabis and nicotine habits. The tremors of alcohol withdrawal are greatly helped. Being Nervine and mildly sedative, it helps in reducing the craving.

In a clinical study, it was found promising with clonidine for opiate detoxication. Clonidine helps better for the physical symptoms like elevated blood pressure and Passiflora incarnata works better for the psychological symptoms like craving, anxiety, irritation and depressed feelings.

Passionflower & Our Heart & Blood Vessels:

Use Passiflora incarnata to normalize high blood pressure and for tachycardia. It can even abort the tachycardia. It works well in persons with this kind of pulse – bounding pulse with excessive cardiac force – and hypertension and noticeable surface vasodilatation – prominent and full veins with flush on face (as after alcohol consumption).

Passionflower In Congestive Cardiac Failure:

A combined extract of hawthorn and Passiflora incarnata was used in a study of CHF patients for shortness of breath and difficulty in exercising. The combination worked well. Some critics later questioned the role of Passiflora incarnata when hawthorn worked well in itself.

Passionflower In Asthma & Cough:

Irritative, spastic, repetitive and ‘difficult to stop’ Cough respond well with this herb. Its spasmolytic nature make it useful in bronchial constriction and dyspnea when the aggravating factor had been the mental anxiety.

Passionflower Helping IBS:

In IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome and in griping and spasmodic diarrhea from food reactions, its use can surely relieve. Commission E(1985) in Germany approved it for nervous stomach like other useful herbs for the same – lemon balm or melissa, chamomile, valerian. Some researchers have found that one component of Passiflora incarnata, Passicol has antimicrobial and anitfungal activity. In European countries, it is used with valerian and hawthorn for gastritis and colitis.

Adverse Effects Of Passionflower:

It is safe and without side effects and is non addictive. Some persons reported slight dizziness, impaired cognitive functions and sedation. All such effects disappeared on discontinuation of the herb. Very rarely nausea, vomiting and tachycardia(1 person) is reported.

Caution! With Passionflower:

  • Not evaluated for safety in pregnancy, breast feeding mothers; So Don’t use in these conditions.
  • Not advised to take with other sedative medication.

Use Passionflower For:

  1. Generalized anxiety disorder.
  2. Insomnia.
  3. Adjuvant in seizures, Irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, cough.
  4. Visit Passionflower related pages on Holistic-Herbalist to get more information.
  5. Take one vegicap once a day. Each vegicap contains Passionflower 200 mg.

Traditional Uses Of Passionflower

Passionflower or Passiflora incarnata is a great herb that is used traditionally for various disorders. It is used for anxiety, as sedative, for high blood pressure and nervous heart, insomnia, during female hormonal transitions, in performance anxiety, for deaddiction, for irritative cough and many other conditions.

This herb gained importance in mid-nineteenth century when L. Phare introduced it into Western Medicine in 1840. Passiflora incarnata is in use both as an edible and for medicinal purposes. It is used for slightly different purposes in different countries.

Edible Fruit Of Passionflower:

It is cultivated and enjoyed by all rain forest inhabitants. The yellow gelatinous pulp of the fruit is eaten out of hand. The pulp is also mixed with water and sugar to make drinks, jams, jellies, sherbets and even salad dressings.

Medicinal Uses Of Passionflower:

Geriatric and pediatric insomnia:

 Sleeplessness of infants and children respond well to this herb. Old persons whose insomnia is due to excessive worries and mental labor get good benefit from this herb.

As A Mild Sedative:

Passionflower is a mild sedative. This action is useful in hysteria, delirium, agitation, nervine, nervousness, restlessness, anxiety.

Nervous and hyperactive children respond well to this botanical. It offers benefit in the concentration problems. The power of focusing attention is enhanced.


Cardiovascular neuroses is the condition of stress and anxiety when one feels great worry for one’s health. It might be accompanied by sweating, palpitation. This condition responds favorably to Passionflower.

It can be used in high blood pressure esp. when nervous anxiety or agitation of mind is felt.

Hormonal Transition Or Adjustment Periods:

In females especially, there are periods of hormonal adjustments or transition during the onset of menstrual cycle around puberty and later when menstrual cycle stops around menopause period. Other times are during parturition or giving birth to baby, pregnancy, breast feeding.

All these periods are associated with some psychological element as well. Passionflower offers its great service with its passion to maternity and female sex!

Respiratory Troubles:

It eases the expectoration that is why it is of use in bronchial asthma, whooping cough, cough when sputum doesn’t come out easily. It can help in irritative cough.

Stomach & Intestine:

Nervous stomach and discomfort of stomach and intestine respond well. This botanical also exerts anti-spasmodic effect.

As vermifuge it expels the worms out.

Brain & Nerves:

Neuralgia or nerve pains, headaches and general pain respond favorably to this herb. It is said to be strengthening for our nerves.

It might exert its positive effect as anti-convulsant and thus be helpful in seizures.

For Deadddiction:

Native people do use it for deaddiction esp. for addiction of drugs and alcohol. It helps the addicted persons to get freedom from the anxiety or restlessness that one normally feels when one doesn’t take the next usual serving of alcohol or drugs.

Passionflower As An Aphrodisiac:

This botanical can alleviate the sex related anxiety. We call it performance anxiety. This is usually felt when one begins to have sex and under those conditions when one’s mind is not settled for sex like extra-marital affairs or teen sex.

For Infections & Inflammations:

This botanical exerts anti-inflammatory action is also useful in bacterial infections. Some persons recommend it for Epstein Barr Virus.

Topical Application Of Passionflower:

It is applied locally over the skin in burns, anti-wrinkle creams, hemorrhoidal inflammation, bruises, headaches and general pain.

Passionflower “Mind” Plant

This general information about this phyto-anxiolytic describes the different names, habitat, the plant, dosage, chemical constituents, medicinal parts, the cautions and safety.

English Name:


Latin Name:

Passiflora incarnata


Passifloraceae. There are over 460 known species of Passiflora.

Folklores About Passionflower:

One of the story is that one Jesuit Priest came across the this herb. In night he had a dream – when he felt its resemblance with elements of Crucifixion or Passion of The Christ. The Five petals and sepals were equivalent to ten apostles, excluding Judas and Peter. The three pistils were the nails of the Cross. The Purple filaments (Corona) resembled with Crown of thorns and the Lord’s goblet looked like the stemmed ovary. There are many variation of this story.

Other Names:

Maypop, Apricot vine, Passiflore rogue, Passionsblume, Purple Passionflower, Passion vine, Granadilla, Maracuja, Carakifelek, Charkfelek, saa’t gulu, Ward assa’ah, Zaharil aalaam, Maracoc etc. 

Related Terms & Names:

Banana passion fruit (P. mollissima), Corona de cristo, EUP, Fleischfarbige, Fleur de la passion, Flor de passion, Jamaican honeysuckle (P. larifolia), Madre selva etc.

Edible Parts:

the berry or fruit is egg shaped with multiple seeds. Edible, fresh and juicy fruits are gathered when soft and yellow-green. The small berry like fruit is called Granadilla or water lemon. The yellow pulp from the fruit is edible. First make sure that the fruit is not over ripe as it would then ferment into a foul smelling paste.

Medicinal Parts:

Whole herb, Cut dried herb, the aerial part

Different Forms:

  • Tea, tinctures, fluid extracts, alcohol free fluid extracts,
  • Chewing gum in Europe for sedative purpose.


Capsule – 300 – 450 mg twice or thrice a day.

Fluid extract (1:1 in 25% alcohol) – 10 -30 drops three times a day.

Hot Infusion or Tea  – Pour One teaspoon (2 – 5 gm) of herb powder with 150ml hot water. Strain after 10 minutes and use it. It can be taken twice or thrice a day, and the last dose one or two hours before bedtime.

Tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol)  – 10 – 60 drops twice or thrice daily.

Herbal Rinse – to be used externally for Hemorrhoids. Take 20 gm of herb powder in 200 ml hot water. Strain after 20 minutes and use while lukewarm.

Pediatric dosage – Most of the adult doses are calculated considering the adult weight at 70 kg. Calculate the dose of children on its basis.

Bio-Chemical Composition:

 Passionflower and the herbal compounds containing it are standardized to contain not less than 0.8% flavonoids to meet the standards of German, French and Swiss Pharmacopoeias.

Previous studies and several analysis suggest the active principle of passionflower to be not a single chemical. The different samples that were tested yielded slightly varying concentrations. Its botanical classification makes it more complex as due to sub-species variation in field samples. In field samples inter-species breeding and the hybrids are common.

Flavonoids – Particularly C Glycosyl flavones, and also including schaftoside, isoschaftoside, isovitexin-2-O-glucoside, isoorientin, isoorientin-2-O-flucoside, lucenin-2, vicenin-2, Chrysin.

  • Upto 2.5%
  • 3.5 – 4.0% Isovitexin flavonoids

Cyannogenic glycosides – Gynocardine (less than 0.1%).

Volatile Oil (trace) – The Harmane and harmaline alkaloids (Passiflorine, Aribine, Loturine and Yageine)  that were written a lot, were not even confirmed in many samples. These are found to act as MAO inhibitors and to stimulate the uterus.

Low levels of Serotonin have been identified that is used to explain the its effects as a natural calming agent, an aid to concentration, and to elevate the mood.

Maltol, the another compound, is also found to have mild sedative properties.

The Ayurvedic Properties:

 There is not any description of this herb in Ayurveda.


  • The Passionflower has some minute concentration of Harman alkaloids that can reduce the effects of antidepressant drugs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors). In Germany, passionflower preparations should not have harman alkaloids above 0.01%.
  • It should not be used by the pregnant, breast feeding mothers and children below 2 years.
  • Consult your qualified herbalist or doctor before taking it with other sedative or tranquilizer.
  • Also consult your doctor if you have some bleeding or clotting disorder.

In Other Herbal Formulations:

In European countries, passionflower’s preparations are available with other herbs like valerian and lemon balm.

As a native Indian and an Ayurvedic holistic healer, Arjun writes in the lane of herbal healing and home remedies. Certification: BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery With Modern Medicine).


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