The dried aerial parts of passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) have historically been used as a sedative and hypnotic (for insomnia) and for "nervous" gastrointestinal complaints. However, clinical evidence supporting any therapeutic use in humans is lacking. Early evidence suggests that passion flower may have a benzodiazepine-like calming action.
Evidence for significant side effects is also unclear, and is complicated by the variety of poorly classified, potentially active constituents in different Passiflora species.
Passion fruit (Passifloraedulis Sims), a related species, is used to flavor food.
Apigenin, apricot vine, banana passion fruit (Passifloramollissima), Calmanervin® (combination product), chrysin, Compoz® (combination product), corona de cristo, coumarin, cyanogenic glycosides, EUP, Euphytose® (combination product), fleischfarbige, fleur de la passion, flor de passion, granadilla, grenadille, harmala alkaloids, harmaline, harmalol, harman, harmine, Jamaican honeysuckle (Passifloralaurifolia), madre selva, maypops, Naturest, Passifloraincarnata, Passifloralaurifolia, Passifloramollissima, pasipay, Passiflora, passionflower, passion vine, Passionsblume (German), purple passion flower, Sedacalm®, umbeliferone, Valverde® (combination product), vitexin, water lemon, wild passion flower.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Congestive heart failure
An extract containing passion flower and hawthorn has been studied as a possible treatment for shortness of breath and difficulty exercising in patients with congestive heart failure. Although the results are promising, the effects of passion flower alone are unclear. High quality human research of passion flower alone compared to prescription drugs used for this condition is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
Sedation (agitation, anxiety, insomnia)
Passion flower has a long history of use for symptoms of restlessness, anxiety, and agitation. Early evidence from animal studies and weak human trials supports these uses. Better research is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.