• Clinical data 0%
  • Efficacy 80%
  • Security 70%
  • Toxicity 30%

Passiflora incarnata
Aerial parts of Passiflora incarnata


Granadilla incarnata Medik., Passifl ora kerii Spreng.

General appearance

Stems lignifi ed, green, greyish-green or brownish, usually less than 5 mm in diameter; rounded, longitudinally striated and often hollow. Leaves alternate with furrowed, often twisted petioles, possessing two extra-floral nectaries at the apex; lamina 6–15 cm long, broad, green to brownish green, palmate with three to five lanceolate lobes covered with fine hair son the lower surface; margin serrate. Tendrils borne in leaf axils, smooth, round and terminating in cylindrical spirals. Flowers 5–9 cm in diameter with peduncles up to 8 cm long, arising in leaf axils; five, white, elongated petals; calyx of five thick sepals, upper surface green and with a horn-like extension; involucre of three pointed bracts with papillose margins; five large stamens, joined at the base and fused to the androgynophor; ovary greyish-green, superior; style hairy with three elongated stigmatic branches.
Fruits 4–5 cm long, oval, fl attened and greenish-brown containing numerous seeds 4–6 mm long, 3–4 mm wide and 2 mm thick, with a brownish-yellow, pitted surface.

Major chemical constituents

The major constituents are fl avonoids (up to 2.5%) with the principal compounds being the C-glycosyl of apigenin (R2 = H) and luteolin (R2 = OH), including mono-C-glucosyl derivatives isovitexin (up to 0.32%), iso-orientin and their 2”-β-d-glycosides, and di-C-glycosyl derivatives schaftoside (up to 0.25%), isoschaftoside (up to 0.15%) and swertisin. Also found are di-C-glucosyl derivatives vicenin-2 and lucenin-2 and small amounts of mono-C-glucosyl derivatives orientin and vitexin. Other chemical constituents include maltol (3-hydroxy-2-methyl-γ-pyrone) (0.05%), chrysin and a cyanogenic glycoside, gynocardin. Traces of the indole (β-carboline) alkaloids (e.g. harman, harmol, harmine) have been reported in the source plants; however, these alkaloids are undetectable in most commercial materials.

Medicinal uses of Passiflora incarnata

Uses supported by clinical data
Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
Passiflora incarnata internally as a mild sedative for nervous restlessness, insomnia and anxiety. Treatment of gastrointestinal disorders of nervous origin.
Uses described in traditional medicine
As an anodyne, antispasmodic and mild stimulant. Treatment of dysmenorrhoea, neuralgia and nervous tachycardia.


Experimental pharmacology

Analgesic and antipyretic activities

Intragastric administration of 5.0 g/kg body weight (bw) of a 60% ethanol extract of Herba Passifl orae per day for 3 weeks to rats did not reduce the pain response as measured in the tail-fl ick test using radiant heat, and no reductions in body temperature were observed. Intragastric administration of a 30% ethanol extract of the aerial parts reduced phenylbenzoquinone-induced writhing in mice, median effective dose 1.9 ml/kg bw.

Anti-infl ammatory activity

Intragastric administration of 75.0–500.0 mg/kg bw of an ethanol extract of the aerial parts to rats reduced carrageenan-induced infl ammation in the hind-paw model 60 minutes after administration. Intragastric administration of 500.0 mg/kg bw of the same extract to rats signifi cantly reduced (16–20%; P < 0.05–0.001) the weight of granulomas induced by the implantation of cotton pellets.
Total leukocyte migration into the rat pleural cavity was reduced by approximately 40% in rats with induced pleurisy following intragastric administration of 500.0 mg/kg bw of an ethanol extract of the aerial parts. This effect was due to the suppression of polymorphonuclear and mononuclear leukocyte migration, and the effect was similar to that of 250.0 mg/kg bw of acetylsalicylic acid.

Antimicrobial activity

A 50% ethanol extract of up to 500.0 mg/ml of the aerial parts did not inhibit the growth of the following fungi: Aspergillus fumigatus, Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium oxysporum, Penicillium digitatum, Rhizopus nigricans and Candida albicans. A methanol extract of the aerial parts inhibited the growth of Helicobacter pylori, minimum inhibitory concentration 50.0 μg/ml.

Cardiovascular effects

In vitro perfusion of guinea-pig heart with a 30% ethanol extract of the aerial parts, 0.001%, increased the force of contraction of the heart muscle. Intravenous administration of 0.05 ml/kg bw of the extract had no effect on blood pressure in guinea-pigs or rats.

Central nervous system depressant activity

Intraperitoneal injection of 25.0 mg/kg bw of an aqueous extract of the aerial parts to mice reduced spontaneous locomotor activity and coordination. However, intraperitoneal administration of the same dose of a fl uidextract to mice did not reduce motor activity. Intraperitoneal or intragastric administration of 60.0–250.0 mg/kg bw of a 30% ethanol or 40% ethanol extract to mice reduced spontaneous locomotor activity. Intragastric administration of 60.0 mg/kg bw of the 40% ethanol extract also potentiated pentobarbital induced sleeping time, and intraperitoneal administration of 50 mg/kg bw signifi cantly (P < 0.05) delayed the onset of pentylenetetrazole induced seizures.
The effects of an aqueous or 30% ethanol extract of the aerial parts were assessed in mice using the unconditioned confl ict test, the light/dark box choice procedure and the staircase test. The extracts were administered at doses of 100.0 mg/kg bw, 200.0 mg/kg bw, 400.0 mg/kg bw or 800.0 mg/kg bw, while control animals received normal saline. The aqueous extract reduced motor activity in the staircase and free exploratory tests, as measured by the number of rears, steps climbed or locomotor crossings following administration of the 400.0 mg/kg and 800.0 mg/kg doses. The aqueous extract also potentiated pentobarbital-induction of sleep. The 30% ethanol extract was not active in these tests, but appeared to increase activity of the animals, having an anxiolytic effect at the 400.0 mg/kg dose.
Intraperitoneal administration of 160.0–250.0 mg/kg bw of an aqueous extract of the aerial parts to mice delayed pentylenetetrazole induced convulsions, increased pentobarbital-induced sleeping time and reduced spontaneous motor activity.
Intragastric administration of a 30% ethanol extract of the aerial parts, corresponding to 5.0 g/kg bw, per day for 3 weeks to rats had no effect on body weight, rectal temperature, tail-fl ick or motor coordination. However, in a one-armed radial maze, the treated animals demonstrated a reduction in motor activity. No changes were observed in electroencephalographic parameters in the treated animals.
Intragastric administration of 800.0 mg/kg bw of a dried 30% ethanol extract of the aerial parts (containing 2.6% fl avonoids) to mice did not affect locomotor activity, but did prolong hexobarbital-induced sleeping time.
Chrysin displayed high affi nity for the benzodiazepine receptors in vitro, and reduced locomotor activity in mice following intraperitoneal administration of 30.0 mg/kg bw. At the same dose, chrysin also increased pentobarbital-induced hypnosis. Uterine stimulant effects A fl uidextract of the aerial parts, 1.0 mol/l, stimulated strong contractions in guinea-pig and rabbit uterus (not pregnant) in vitro. However, afluidextract, 1.0–2.0 mol/l, did not stimulate contractions in the isolated uterus from pregnant guinea-pigs.


The oral median lethal dose of a 30% ethanol extract of the aerial parts in mice was 37.0 ml/kg bw. Toxicity in mice of an aqueous extract was observed only after intraperitoneal administration of 900.0 mg/kg bw. No acute toxicity was observed in mice given extracts of the aerial parts at doses of 500.0 mg/kg bw or 900.0 mg/kg bw.

Clinical pharmacology

No clinical data available for mono-preparations of Herba Passifl orae.


Herba Passifl orae has been shown to stimulate uterine contractions in animal models. Its use is therefore contraindicated during pregnancy.


May cause drowsiness. The ability to drive a car or operate machinery may be impaired.}


News and Journals


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