Alternative Names: Maypop, Purple Passionflower, True Passionflower, Wild Apricot, Wild Passion Vine
Native to the United States and cultivated mostly in Florida, it is the dried flowers and fruiting parts used.
Because of its mild tranquilizing activity, passion flower is a common ingredient in sedative, relaxing, and sleep aid products. These may be in the form of capsules, tinctures, or teas. Passion flower is often added to valerian root extracts, as these botanicals compliment one another as sedatives and sleep aids. Plant powders, extracts, and standardized extracts are all available from passion flower. The usefulness of the extraction and standardization processes is not completely known.
Among many constituents, passion flower contains alkaloids (mainly harman and associated compounds), flavonoids, glycosides, sugars and sterols. Harman, as well as some of the flavonoids, have been found to be weak tranquilizing agents.
Treatment with passionflower extract over a one month period compared favorably to oxazepam (Serax – an antianxiety benzodiazepine drug) in a randomized, double-blind study of 36 outpatients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Passionflower extract demonstrated a slower onset of action and less impairment of job performance than did oxazepam. [J Clin Pharm Ther 2001;26(5): pp.363-7]