What Is “Passionflower”? Benefits, Dosing, and More Made Easy!

What Is “Passionflower”? Benefits, Dosing, and More Made Easy!

Not THAT kind of passionflower. (although, if you read on, you’ll see it DOES have uses for bedtime!)

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a type of flower (a perennial if anyone here likes to garden) that seems to reliably aid in sleep.

Alongside of this, there are some peripheral benefits that people may also find useful, and why I believe make it such a desirable supplement to aid in restorative sleep.

First I’ll start off with the common dosing used to aid in sleep.

The latter portions will largely deal with the interactions it has within our bodies and how other systems are affected.

Common uses of Passionflower & Mechanism of Action.

Passionflower is often sold as a dietary supplement in a few different preparations.

You may be find them as some of the following:

  • Passionflower Extract (Sold as a whole flower with blossoms refined into a powder.)
  • Passionflower Extract (with varying ratios such as 4:1 and 3:1 being most common)
  • Passionflower (aerial parts extract)
  • Whole Passionflower extract (in liquid suspension)

You’ll find different studies showing ranges from 150mg – 500mg.

If you wanted to get some and try it out for yourself, look no further.

BulkSupplements (MindlessAndEasy’s Most Recent Affiliate) has them at a pretty affordable pricing.

Passionflower 100g$14.96
Passionflower 500g$26.96
Passionflower 1000g$36.96
Price for passionflower extract on BulkSupplements.com as of 03/07/2024

You can also purchase it on Amazon here

Typically, being sold in powdered solution is the most common approach for supplement companies.

This is the lowest cost method as it is easy to store and prepare for capsule solutions.

Some people prefer the droplets as they make it easier to consume in a nighttime beverage.

After analyzing a handful of reviews and studies, I’ve highlighted some interesting doses in the table.

Dose Used(Effect studied)
500mgAnti-Anxiety (Movafegh et al)
260mg Anti-Anxiety (Dantas et al.)
192mgPositive Sedative properties during sleep (Dimpfel et al.)
some ranges of passionflower used in clinical studies

As to the differences in ratios or parts included, this is for a few different effects.

Including or removing different parts of the plants allow for more selective benefits.

Breaking it down point by point, let’s look at the impact passionflower has as a whole.

Mechanism of Action.

stacking things together, working efficiently like parts of a machine

Plants contain special properties called “phytonutrients” or “phytochemicals

These are essentially just components of the plant that can impact our body.

You’ll commonly see phytochemicals like apigenin, luteolin, orientin, quercetin, vitexin or isovitexin.

Fun Fact: Passionflower has one of the highest concentrations of isovitexin in flowering plants.

isovitexin is responsible, in part, for being a potent anti-oxidant, cancer-protective, and aiding in brain health.

This means that it can play a strong role in preventing further damage to your body while the rest of the plant works to aid in relaxation and reaching a meaningful sleep.

The aerial parts of Passionflower have the highest return on reducing stress and improving sleep.

They do this by incorporating a strong balance of phytochemicals that reduce anxiety, promote deep sleep and encourages a slight sedation. (See the above references linked to the benefits of things like apigenin and orientin)

While the Mechanism of action isn’t FULLY elucidated YET, it’s believed that passionflower metabolites act as a GABA-B receptor antagonist.

One thing to note about herbal supplementation: there is a large variance in tolerance or response because of genetics and digestion.

Alongside of this, the pharmacokinetics can get pretty complicated.

Drug-to-drug interactions are a STARK example. (like not drinking with anti-depressants)

On the same note, it’s important to know the roles that your supplements all play synergistically.

Passionflower and other common herbal supplement pairs.

passionflower as the main lightbulb and all the other pairs circled around it

Passionflower is often studied in tandem with other herbal extracts.

While the literature is somewhat sparse, we can find a handful of studies describing that people will often include a “variety blend” into their bed-time supplements.

Things like valerian root, skullcap, chamomile, lemon-balm, etc., etc., to get the maximum benefit.

Unlike purely synthesized chemicals that target one or a few regions of our body, plants have a bit of nebulous time in our body.

Due to this vagueness, one product could end up being MUCH more effective, or entirely useless!

An easy example: If you drink green tea right after taking a night-time supplement, you may end up staying awake longer than expected!

This is because of the caffeine content inside of the tea leaves!

Similarly, if you do have an overlap of supplements, they should be time appropriate and have some shared benefits.

A quick cheat-sheet: Valerian, Passionflower, hops, (also lemon-balm and skullcaps) all have slightly varying effects that will essentially cause a more meaningful sleep due to their chemical composition.

The range of phytochemicals will lead to relaxation, sedation, reduced anxiety, and creating a favorable environment for sleep.

In conclusion

figuring out the reasons behind relative dosing

Personally I don’t consider passionflower to be a first choice for sleep aids. It’s a great destressing agent, and sure it helps with putting you to sleep with some of the peripheral sedative effects.

However; there are much better alternatives, this seems like it should only be an added ingredient in a mix, not stand-alone.

ALSO, as this is a potentially GABAergic agent, TAKE CAUTION if you are pregnant.

Again, all of these posts are under the “informational purposes” only as per my disclaimers.

Lastly, I think this is also a great way to segue into a post on “sleep” soon.

(That will get written when I actually end up sleeping a reasonable amount of time. Practicing what I preach and all, ya know?)

Do you have a “Sleep Stack” or a semi-nightly ritual you incorporate before bed?

If so let me know!

I have heard many interesting ones!

Until next time, Toodles!

Passionflower Citations and related INFO

Passiflora incarnata in Neuropsychiatric Disorders—A Systematic Review – PMC

Effect of a medicinal plant (Passiflora incarnata L) on sleep – PMC

The Therapeutic Potential of Apigenin – PMC

Luteolin, a flavonoid with potentials for cancer prevention and therapy – PMC

A Review on Medicinal Properties of Orientin – PMC

Overviews of Biological Importance of Quercetin: A Bioactive Flavonoid – PMC

Passionflower – American Botanical Council

Passionflower’s Medicinal & Edible Uses | Chestnut School (Great bit of trivia and info!!)

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