Passionflower Health Benefits & Side Effects

Table of Contents

What is passionflower vine?

      • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata/edulis) is a vine found growing throughout the tropics, but is mainly found wild in South America. Its leaves and stems are used for medicine, and its fruit is used as a flavoring.
      • Passionflower is a very well rounded herb. It offers support for anxiety, and stress-related conditions, through its antioxidant actions, as well as modulation of various chemical activities in the brain (such as Na+, K+, and ATPase activity).
      • There are approximately 500 known species of passionflower. This family of plants is also called Passiflora. Some scientific studies indicate that certain species may have medicinal benefits. For instance, Passiflora incarnata might help treat anxiety and insomnia. Native Americans have used passionflower to deal with an assortment of conditions. These include boils, wounds, earaches, and liver issues. Spanish explorers learned about passionflower from indigenous Peruvians. They called these plants for their similarity to a crucifix as “the Passion” is a phrase used to describe the last phase of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.
      • The leaves offer strong anti-inflammatory actions as well, both topically on the skin, as well as internally. This can be useful for a wide range of conditions related to inflammation such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel conditions, and sports injuries. 
      • Passionflower has been found to be useful in cancer therapy as well through an essential oil known as “chrysin”. Passionflower is one of the best herbs for neurological issues, including stress, depression, and Alzheimer’s. It is even useful for insomnia. It works best for insomnia characterized by wandering, and a busy mind at bedtime.

Passionflower health benefits

Some studies suggest it can help relieve anxiety and sleeplessness. Other species of passionflower have shown benefits for treating stomach issues. The NCCIH cautions more study is required to assess the possible applications of P. incarnata. 


Purple passionflower may help alleviate insomnia and anxiety. It seems to boost the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in mind. This chemical lowers brain activity, which might help you sleep better. In a study, participants drank one dose of herbal tea daily with purple passionflower. After one week, they reported improvements in the quality of sleep. The researchers suggest that purple passionflower might help adults handle mild sleep irregularities.

Some trials suggest that purple passionflower may also alleviate anxiety. A study reported in Anesthesia and Analgesia analyzed its effects on patients scheduled for surgery. Patients who consumed it reported less stress than those who received a placebo.


The essential oil contained in passionflower has been found to provide positive effects against a wide range of cancer cell lines including oropharyngeal, mammary, melanoma, anaplastic thyroid, pancreatic, liver, gastric, colon, cervical, melanoma, lung, colon, rectal, glioma, esophageal squamous, leukemia, hepatocellular, neuroblastoma, squamous cell carcinoma, oral, and prostate [1].

Neurological disorders

Passionflower provides benefits for a variety of neurological disorders including insomnia, stress, Alzheimer’s, and ischemic stroke. It achieves this through a variety of actions, including powerful antioxidant activity in the hippocampus of the brain and neurons, as well as through inhibition of Na+, K+, and ATPase activity in the brain. Its effects on reducing anxiety have been noted to be as effective as benzodiazepines such as oxazepam in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder and noted to have fewer side effects [5, 6]


Passionflower provides a cardioprotective action, which is suggested to be through PPAR-γ activation, modulation of MAPKs, and TGF-β inhibition. [3]. It is also useful in reducing high blood pressure through inhibiting calcium channels in vascular and smooth muscle tissue [2].


Other members of the Passiflora family may help treat stomach problems. In a study from the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, researchers analyzed its potential for treating stomach ulcers. They discovered it helped alleviate nausea in rats. It also revealed antioxidant benefits.

How to take passionflower?

– When taking passionflower, it is the leaves and stems that are medicinal. Use them in the form of a tea, with a long steeping time. The infusion should be dark and flavorful for the most effective result.

– The tincture or liquid extract is another great way of taking this herb, and this way they can easily be used at exact doses and added to any beverage you want. Tinctures are convenient and effective.

– Capsules and tablets are also available. Unless they are of high quality, some of the medicinal components such as the essential oils may have been destroyed in the process of making them.

Use it in

Use it as an addition to herbal teas, or add some of the tinctures to juices or teas. Most tinctures use alcohol, so by adding it to a hot beverage and waiting a few minutes, much of the alcohol will evaporate off and lessen the alcohol taste.

Pairs with

– To help with sleep combine with valerian, hops, melissa (lemon balm), or chamomile

– For neurological conditions, passionflower combines well with ginkgo, Muira Pauma, and/or Gotu kola

Caution & side effects

– Passionflower is classified by the FDA as “generally regarded as safe”. It has been found to have no negative effects, even at extremely high doses in mice [4].

– Passionflower may interact with benzodiazepines and barbiturates, due to similar actions within the body. Caution is advised if taking either of these medications.

– According to NCCIH, passionflower is usually considered safe. But it may cause some side effects, for example:




As a result of this, it shouldn’t be taken with stimulant medications. Additionally, it is not safe for pregnant women or breast-feeding ladies. It could induce contractions if you are pregnant. Always speak with your doctor before trying passionflower instead of therapy. They can help you evaluate the potential benefits and hazards.


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