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How Is Passion Flower Used to Treat Anxiety?

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Updated December 09, 2013

Description:

Passion flower (passiflora incarnata) is a herbal supplement used historically in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, seizures and hysteria. A perennial climbing vine native to southeastern North America, passion flower is now grown throughout Europe. The herbal supplement is composed of the flowers, leaves and stems of the plant.

Although the safety and effectiveness of passion flower have not been adequately studied, evidence from limited animal and human research suggests that the supplement may be useful in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia and nervous disorders. More rigorous scientific studies are needed to make firm conclusions about the effectiveness of passion flower for the treatment of anxiety problems, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD).

How to Take Passion Flower:

Passion flower is available as infusions, teas, liquid extracts and tinctures.

Dosage Guidelines:

There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of passion flower in children. Adult doses are as follows:

  • Infusions: 2.5g, 3 to 4 times daily
  • Teas: Tea made from 4 to 8g of dried herb, daily
  • Liquid Extract: 10 to 30 drops, 3 times daily
  • Tincture: 10 to 60 drops, 3 times daily

As with any natural supplement, you should read the product label and discuss appropriate dosages with a qualified healthcare provider.

Who Shouldn’t Take Passion Flower:

Do not take passion flower if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Medication Interactions:

The following is a list of some potential interactions. If you are already taking or planning to take another medication or supplement, consult with a qualified healthcare provider about potential interactions.

  • antihistamines
  • benzodiazepines
  • barbituates
  • narcotics
  • products containing kava or valerian root
  • antidepressants
  • alcohol
  • aspirin
  • blood thinners
  • anti-inflammatories
  • caffeine

Side Effects:

Side effects have been rarely reported for passion flower but may include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, rapid heartbeat and mental slowing. Care should be taken if driving or operating heavy machinery.

Associated Risks:

In general, passion flower is considered safe and nontoxic. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, does not regulate the production of herbs and supplements. Most herbs and supplements are not thoroughly tested, and there is no guarantee regarding the ingredients or safety of the products.

Other supplements for social anxiety disorder:

Sources:

National Library of Medicine. Passion Flower. Accessed September 3, 2008.

University of Maryland Medical Center. Passion Flower. Accessed September 3, 2008.

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