National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health

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Common Names: 
passionflower, Maypop, apricot vine, old field apricot, maracuja, water lemon
Latin Name: 
Passiflora incarnata L.
Passionflower © Steven Foster

On this page:


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


  • Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers learned of passionflower in Peru. Native peoples of the Americas used passionflower for boils, wounds, earaches, and liver problems.
  • Today, passionflower is used as a dietary supplement for anxiety, stress, and sleep, as well as for heart ailments, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, burns, and 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 hasn't been studied extensively. A 2009 systematic review of two studies that included 198 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.
  • There isn't enough evidence to draw conclusions about passionflower for cardiovascular conditions, asthma, hemorrhoids, burns, or sleep.


What Do We Know About Safety?

  • Passionflower is generally considered to be safe but may cause dizziness and confusion.
  • Taking passionflower with a sedative may increase the risk of excessive sleepiness.
  • Passionflower should not be used during pregnancy as it may induce contractions.


Keep In Mind

  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary 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.

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A service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals.

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.


NIH National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus


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 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.

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NCCIH Publication No.: 
June 2013
October 2014