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Passionflower is on the FDA's GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) list.
The alkaloids harman and harmaline found in passionflower have been found to act somewhat like the drugs known as MAO inhibitors and also to stimulate the uterus, 1 but whether whole passionflower has these effects remains unknown. Passionflower might increase the action of sedative medications. 2 Finally, there are five case reports from Norway of individuals becoming temporarily mentally impaired from a combination herbal product containing passionflower. 3 It is not clear whether the other ingredients may have played a role.
Safety has not been established for pregnant or nursing mothers, very young children, or those with severe liver or kidney disease.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Sedative medications : Passionflower might exaggerate their effect.
- Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London, England: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:206.
- Speroni E, Billi R, Mercati V, et al. Sedative effects of crude extract of Passiflora incarnata after oral administration. Phytother Res. 1996;10:S92-S94.
- Solbakken AM, Rorbakken G, Gundersen T. Nature medicine as intoxicant [in Norwegian; English abstract]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1997;117:1140-1141.