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Passionflower

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This fact sheet provides basic information about passionflower—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.

 

Common Names:  passionflower, maypop, apricot vine, maracuja, water lemon

Latin Name: 
Passiflora incarnata

Background

  • Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers learned of passionflower in Peru. Native peoples of the Americas used passionflower as a mild sedative.
  • Today, passionflower is used as a dietary supplement for anxiety and sleep problems, as well as for pain, heart rhythm problems, menopausal symptoms, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is applied to the skin for burns and to treat hemorrhoids.
  • Passionflower is available dried (which can be used to make tea), or as liquid extract, capsules, or tablets.

How Much Do We Know?

  • Passionflower’s effect on anxiety and other conditions hasn’t been studied extensively.

What Have We Learned?

  • A 2007 review of two older studies with198 people compared the ability of passionflower and two drugs to reduce anxiety. It concluded that the three substances had about the same degree of minimal effectiveness; however, the researchers noted that the small number of studies don’t allow clear conclusions to be drawn.
  • A more recent review suggests that the majority of passionflower studies in people for any condition have serious flaws and, therefore, do not support its use.

What Do We Know About Safety?

  • Passionflower is generally considered to be safe but may cause drowsiness.
  • Passionflower should not be used during pregnancy as it may induce contractions.

Keep in Mind

  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

NCCIH Clearinghouse

The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information on NCCIH and complementary and integrative health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.

Toll-free in the U.S.: 
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PubMed®

A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. For guidance from NCCIH on using PubMed, see How To Find Information About Complementary Health Approaches on PubMed.

Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

ODS seeks to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, supporting research, sharing research results, and educating the public. Its resources include publications (such as Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know), fact sheets on a variety of specific supplement ingredients and products (such as vitamin D and multivitamin/mineral supplements), and the PubMed Dietary Supplement Subset

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Key References

This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.

NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.
NCCIH Publication No.: 
D487
Updated: 
September 2016

This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.


NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advise of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.


U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

nccih.nih.gov

This page last modified September 24, 2017