Passion flower (Passiflora) is a plant with a distinctive flower appearance that plays an important role in folk medicine around the world, claiming to relieve anxiety and aid sleep.
And in empirical medicine, is passion flower really effective? Whether there are any side effects of passion flower, see the internal report for details.
What is passionflower?
Passiflora incarnata mentioned in this article is a variety of Passiflora belonging to the passionflower family Passifloraceae, a perennial climbing plant native to the southeastern United States and widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
There are about 5 varieties of passionflower Passiflora around the world, of which passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) is the most famous member and is an important tropical fruit.
The word Passiflora comes from the Latin “Passio” because in 1529 the Spanish “conqueror” described its flowers as symbolizing the “passion” of Christ.
Passionflower has long been used in folk medicine, and the above-ground parts (leaves, stems, roots and fruits) are used in different forms, in addition to food seasonings, but also as teas, liquid extracts and tinctures, for sedation, antispasmodic, anxiolytic, blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory and sleep inducing, so it has been valued in medicine.
What are the proven benefits of passion flower?
1. Improve generalized anxiety disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a syndrome of persistent anxiety or worry about events and thoughts, and people are often aware that this is excessive and inappropriate.
These concerns often trigger defensive and avoidant behavior, and any activity deemed dangerous, such as travel, may be postponed or simply not performed.
The 6 main symptoms include restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances, 3 of which must be present in the diagnosis.
The cause of generalized anxiety disorder is unknown, but traumatic life experiences, poor adaptations, genetic influences, and neurologic dysfunction are considered possible underlying causes.
One preliminary double-blind randomized trial (4-week, 36 people with generalized anxiety disorder) used passionflower extract in one group and the drug oxazepam in the other. Note 1
Both passionflower extract and oxazepam were found to be therapeutic, and there was no significant difference between the two regimens at the end of the trial, but there were more side effects (e.g., impaired performance) in the drug group.
*Conclusion: Passionflower extract may help improve generalized anxiety disorder, but limited by small sample sizes, more large trials support this
2. Improve sleep quality
Sleep is one of life’s most instinctive and basic physiological needs, maintaining health, mental stability, endocrine and immune function, and is essential for maintaining mood, memory and cognitive function.
An estimated 5000 million to 7000 million adults in the United States have chronic sleep and wake disorders, with a higher incidence in women than men (25% vs. 18%), and the prevalence of insomnia increases with age, affecting about 50% of older adults.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study (1 week, 41 people with poor mild sleep quality) showed that drinking passionflower tea (containing 2 g of dried leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers per g) before bedtime improved sleep quality. Note 2
*Conclusion: For people with mild sleep quality, taking passionflower tea may have a positive help
3. Reduce preoperative anxiety
Many patients experience a great deal of anxiety before surgery, reportedly affecting about 60 to 80 percent of surgical patients.
Preoperative anxiety can be caused by many reasons, including fear of death due to anesthesia or surgery, and fear of pain during or after surgery.
Preoperative anxiety also often causes difficulty in intravenous access, delayed jaw relaxation and cough during induction of anesthesia, spontaneous fluctuations, and increased need for anesthesia.
In addition to this, it has been associated with increased postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting, longer recovery time, and increased risk of infection.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study (of 60 patients undergoing surgery) showed that taking passionflower extract significantly reduced preoperative anxiety (as measured by numerical rating scales), but was not helpful in recovering chamber mental variables and psychomotor function. Note 3
*Conclusion: In outpatient surgery, oral passionflower extract as a pre-administration may reduce preoperative anxiety
4. Opioid withdrawal treatment
Opioids are chemicals extracted from the poppy plant and are used today primarily to make narcotic painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, heroin, and morphine.
Opioids bind to receptors inherent in the human brain, and in addition to their effective pain-relieving abilities, they can produce feelings of euphoria, calm, and relaxation, but they can also be highly addictive if used too long or in excess.
Once addicted, it means that more drugs are needed to achieve the same effect, and if you stop taking the drug, there will be withdrawal symptoms, such as: irritability, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, runny nose, tears, hot and cold sweat, goosebumps, muscle pain, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, slow reaction time, etc.
One randomized, double-blind controlled trial (14 weeks, 65 opioid addicts) used passionflower extract + clonidine and placebo plus clonidine. Note 4
Both programs were found to be equally effective in treating the physical symptoms of withdrawal syndrome.
However, in the treatment of psychiatric symptoms, passionflower plus clonidine was significantly superior to those treated with the drug alone.
*Conclusion: Passionflower extract may be an effective adjuvant for opioid withdrawal therapy.
5. Improvement of menopausal symptoms
Menopause, generally referred to as the menopausal transition, or “perimenopause,” is a well-defined period that begins with an irregular menstrual cycle until the last one, characterized by fluctuations in reproductive hormones.
Characteristics of this period include: irregular menstruation, long menstrual duration, heavy menstrual flow, amenorrhea, vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes), irritability, mood swings, insomnia, vaginal dryness, difficulty concentrating, incontinence, osteoporosis, depression, headaches and other symptoms.
A clinical study (6 weeks, 59 women with menopausal symptoms) showed that both passionflower or hypericum extract helped improve menopause-related symptoms, especially vasomotor symptoms, insomnia, depression, anger, and headaches. Note 5
*Conclusion: Oral passionflower extract may have a positive effect on the improvement of menopausal symptoms in women, but due to the small sample size, more large trials are still needed for further confirmation
Are there any side effects of passion flower?
Passion flower is safe for most people in appropriate doses in the short term, such as for food flavoring, as a tea, or related extraction, and reported side effects include: nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, altered consciousness, impaired coordination, vasculitis, etc
Safety precautions (4 contraindications to use)
1. Do not use it in pregnant women, because there are some chemicals in passionflower that may cause uterine contractions.
2. Lactating women and children should not use, because the relevant safety is unknown
3. If you plan to take passionflower within two weeks before and after surgery, consult your healthcare provider to avoid possible adverse reactions or drug interactions
4. Do not use with sedatives (central nervous system depressants), may enhance the effect of drugs, related drug names are: pentobarbital, secobarbital (tachysleep), clonazepam, lorazepam (clohydroxynordiazepam), zolpidem
Is there a recommended dosage for passion flower?
There is currently no optimal recommended dose of passionflower, and the dose used in relevant clinical trials is for reference only
Anxiety: 400 mg passionflower extract capsules twice daily for 2-8 weeks or 45 drops of liquid extract per day for up to a month.