Passiflora incarnata

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

Passiflora incarnata, maypop, apricot vine, maracuja, water lemon


Passionflower is a plant with bright purple flowers. The flowers and leaves have been used to ease feelings of anxiety and problems sleeping. Passionflower is most often made into a tea. It can also be taken as a pill, powder, or extract.


One cup of tea 1 to 2 times daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Anxiety —likely to ease symptoms A1-A4

May Be Effective

  • Depression —may ease symptoms C1
  • Insomnia —may improve sleep time E1,E2

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder B1
  • Diabetes D1
  • Knee osteoarthritis F1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take passionflower in small doses for a short time, but lightheadedness, drowsiness, and confusion may happen. Passionflower should not be taken during pregnancy.G1,G3 Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period or when breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • People taking medicine for anxiety or sleeping problems should talk to their doctors before taking passionflower. It may cause problems with the body’s nervous system.G2


A. Anxiety

A1. Lakhan S, Vieira K. Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review. Nutr J. 2010;9:42.

A2. Aslanargun P, Cuvas O, et al. Passiflora incarnata Linneaus as an anxiolytic before spinal anesthesia. J Anesth. 2012;26(1):39-44.

A3. Dantas LP, de Oliveira-Ribeiro A, de Almeida-Souza LM, Groppo FC. Effects of passiflora incarnata and midazolam for control of anxiety in patients undergoing dental extraction. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2017 Jan 1;22(1):e95-e101.

A4. Yeung KS, Hernandez M, et al. Herbal medicine for depression and anxiety: A systematic review with assessment of potential psycho-oncologic relevance. Phytother Res. 2018 May;32(5):865-891.

B. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

B1. Anheyer D, Lauche R, et al. Herbal medicines in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A systematic review. Complement Ther Med. 2017 Feb;30:14-23.

C. Depression

C1. Yeung KS, Hernandez M, et al. Herbal medicine for depression and anxiety: A systematic review with assessment of potential psycho-oncologic relevance. Phytother Res. 2018 May;32(5):865-891.

D. Diabetes

D1. de Queiroz Mdo S, Janebro DI, et al. Effect of the yellow passion fruit peel flour (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa deg.) in insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Nutr J. 2012 Oct 22;11:89.

E. Insomnia

E1. Ngan A, Conduit R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytother Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):1153-1159.

E2. Maroo N, Hazra A, et al. 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 Jan-Feb;45(1):34-39.

F. Knee Osteoarthritis

F1. Farid R, Rezaieyazdi Z, et al. Oral intake of purple passion fruit peel extract reduces pain and stiffness and improves physical function in adult patients with knee osteoarthritis. Nutr Res. 2010 Sep;30(9):601-606.

G. Safety

G1. Fisher AA, Purcell P, et al. Toxicity of Passiflora incarnata L. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2000;38(1):63-66.

G2. Carrasco MC, Vallejo JR, et al. Interactions of Valeriana officinalis L. and Passiflora incarnata L. in a patient treated with lorazepam. Phytother Res. 2009 Dec;23(12):1795-1796.

G3. Miroddi M, Calapai G, et al. Passiflora incarnata L.: ethnopharmacology, clinical application, safety and evaluation of clinical trials. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Dec 12;150(3):791-804.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC

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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

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