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Article: Passion Flower: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, & Dosage

what does passion flower supplement do?

Passion Flower: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, & Dosage

The passionflower is one of those things that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, largely owing to the fact that it is not well understood. In this article, we are casting the spotlight on this unique plant which offers some surprising benefits.

Let’s see what all the talk is about.


There are many different species of passionflower, included amongst them the passion fruit as well.

They tend to occur as vines or shrubs and are believed to have a strong symbolism with Jesus’ last days on earth.

They are native to parts of central and south America, but can now be cultivated anywhere with a tropical climate.



passion flower for insomnia

It is believed that as many as 1 in 3 adults will experience insomnia to some extent throughout their lives, which can have a significant negative impact on both physical and mental wellbeing.

Passionflower may help with improving the quality and extent of sleep- even comparable to potent prescription sleep medication.

A trial published in the Indian Journal of pharmacology found that a combination of passionflower along with other calming herbs such as valerian and hops was able to deliver effect that was equivalent to the medication zolpidem.

Another study also confirmed its utility when used alone for treating mild sleep disturbances, totaling 41 subjects.


You might be surprised to know that approximately 13% of all Americans suffer from anxiety and related disorders. Just think about that – that means more than one in ten people struggle with the debilitating effects anxiety can have. 

Not surprisingly, the pharmaceutical industry for medications that treat this condition is in the range of billions. Medication, however, brings its own share of adverse effects that make it necessary for you to consider other options before committing.

Passionflower extract may help in this regard, as a study published in the journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics in October 2001 revealed that over the course of one month, passionflower was as efficacious as the prescription medication oxazepam in managing generalized anxiety.

While this study was small, totaling just 36 participants, other findings have been promising as well.

For instance, the addition of passionflower to anti-depressive SSRI medications found that it helps to support beneficial symptom management, without increasing the incidence of side effects, as published in the Iranian journal of psychiatry in the year 2016.

Passionflower has also found favor in dental procedures, with trials conducted on over 200 patients demonstrating its ability to reduce anxiety before such procedures.


Menopause is one of the toughest times in a woman’s life. The roller coaster of emotions, mood swings, hot flashes, and inability to sleep make a tough time much worse. Not surprisingly, women often look for anything that can help to improve such symptoms.

While there are effective supplements for managing symptoms of menopause, passionflower should not be overlooked in this regard. For instance, one clinical trial which included 59 women of menopausal age published in the Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research found that the aqueous extract administered at a dose of 3ml daily over the course of six weeks was effective in reducing the severity of all associated symptoms.

Passionflower may even be combined with other supplements such as black cohosh and red clover to potentiate their benefit.


passion flower for alcohol abuse treatment

Drug abuse and subsequent addiction can ravage entire societies, particularly those that are classified as lower income. Not surprisingly, recovering addicts are also fewer in these neighborhoods, since the availability and affordability of potential treatment are out of the grasp of the average person.

Enter passionflower – which early clinical data as indicated may be useful in supporting recovery from a variety of substances, including:


One trial which included 65 participants dealing with withdrawal symptoms of opioids found that an aqueous passionflower extract administered at a dose of 3 ml daily over the course of 14 days was able to reduce symptoms of insomnia, confusion, or aggression, and help to promote a sense of calm.


While passionflower on its own might not be able to combat alcohol addiction, used in combination with other extracts of black seed, saffron, and cocoa, it has the potential in helping to normalize elevated liver enzymes, while bringing back normal appetite and overall sense of well-being.

These promising findings were published in the journal neuro endocrinology letters in 2018.


Nicotine is a very peculiar compound in the sense that it possesses real benefits, but it is very difficult to walk the thin line that separates benefit from addiction. 

Outright cessation of cigarette smoking is difficult, and usually involves the gradual reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked daily.

Then, and only then, should passionflower be used.

The studies conducted to date were on rodents, which demonstrated that the flavonoids found in passionflower could block nicotine receptors and subsequently allow them to regain natural sensitivity.

Other symptoms associated with nicotine withdrawal syndrome such as depression, loss of appetite, or  feelings of profound stress can be mitigated with this approach.


Medications such as the benzodiazepines fall in this category, which are currently used for their sedative and anxiolytic properties.

Tolerance to these medications quickly develop and leads to diminished benefit after just a few short weeks of usage. 

The administration of passionflower extract can help prevent the rate at which tolerance develops, but it is important to keep in mind the fact that it may potentiate the sedative effect of such medications and needs to be used cautiously.


passion flower for ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, better known as just ADHD, is being diagnosed at record levels in young kids, although sadly, many of these diagnoses are wrong.

The result is administering very potent medications that may have lifelong repercussions to children who do not need them. As adults, these kids may have difficulties forming bonds and natural emotional relationships.

One very small study found a potential role for passionflower as a natural alternative to prescription ADHD medications, having fewer side effects in kids.

Unfortunately, larger studies have failed to replicate the benefit observed in the smaller size studies, which leaves their validity up in the air.


Passionflower was used for centuries by the natives in parts of the world where It was found naturally occurring, for many potential roles.

Today, animal and cellular studies are still being undertaken to confirm the efficacy and potential of its many order benefits. Those being studied include:

Pain management – by activating GABA and opioid receptors, it can lead to profound relaxation and blockage of pain signals.

Depression-the presence of indole alkaloids may help increase brain levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine may help reduce the symptoms of depression. Similarly, GABA receptor activation may also play a role.


The exact passionflower dosage that elicits therapeutic benefit has not been definitively determined by research, although it appears to range between 250-1000mg daily (of extract).


Passionflower is generally considered as safe, with the FDA approving it when used as a food additive (albeit, in low doses).

Common side effects are generally mild and may include drowsiness, dizziness, and transient nausea.

Rare but serious side effects have also been documented such as allergic reactions, heart rhythm disturbances, and profound vomiting.

It is contraindicated in pregnant women as it may initiate uterine contractions, and must be used under medical supervision in children.


Passionflower may interact with medications such as sedatives, anti-depressants, and specific blood pressure medications. Be sure to consult your pharmacist or physician prior to usage.


Passion flower can be found in BrickHouse Nutrition's scientifically validated sleep formula, DREAMzzz.


  • Maroo n, hazra a, das t. Efficacy and safety of a polyherbal sedative-hypnotic formulation nsf-3 in primary insomnia in comparison to zolpidem: a randomized controlled trial. Indian j pharmacol. 2013;45(1):34-39. Doi:10.4103/0253-7613.106432
  • Maroo n, hazra a, das t. Efficacy and safety of a polyherbal sedative-hypnotic formulation nsf-3 in primary insomnia in comparison to zolpidem: a randomized controlled trial. Indian j pharmacol. 2013;45(1):34-39. Doi:10.4103/0253-7613.106432
  • Akhondzadeh s, naghavi hr, vazirian m, shayeganpour a, rashidi h, khani m. Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. J clin pharm ther. 2001;26(5):363-367. Doi:10.1046/j.1365-2710.2001.00367.x
  • Nojoumi m, ghaeli p, salimi s, sharifi a, raisi f. Effects of passion flower extract, as an add-on treatment to sertraline, on reaction time in patients ‎with generalized anxiety disorder: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Iran j psychiatry. 2016;11(3):191-197.
  • Fahami f, asali z, aslani a, fathizadeh n. A comparative study on the effects of hypericum perforatum and passion flower on the menopausal symptoms of women referring to isfahan city health care centers. Iran j nurs midwifery res. 2010;15(4):202-207.
  • Akhondzadeh s, kashani l, mobaseri m, hosseini sh, nikzad s, khani m. Passionflower in the treatment of opiates withdrawal: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. J clin pharm ther. 2001;26(5):369-373. Doi:10.1046/j.1365-2710.2001.00366.x
  • Mansoor k, qadan f, hinum a, et al. An open prospective pilot study of a herbal combination "relief" as a supportive dietetic measure during alcohol withdrawal. Neuro endocrinol lett. 2018;39(1):1-8.
  • Dhawan k, kumar s, sharma a. Nicotine reversal effects of the benzoflavone moiety from passiflora incarnata linneaus in mice. Addict biol. 2002;7(4):435-441. Doi:10.1080/1355621021000006044
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  • Aman u, subhan f, shahid m, et al. Passiflora incarnata attenuation of neuropathic allodynia and vulvodynia apropos gaba-ergic and opioidergic antinociceptive and behavioural mechanisms. Bmc complement altern med. 2016;16:77. Published 2016 feb 24. Doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1048-6

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