Introduction and objective:
The genus Passiflora incarnata L. is used in traditional medicine for its analgesic, anxiolytic and sedative purposes, and its flavoursome fruits have long been consumed, especially in North America. The aim of the study is to assess the effect of extract of P. incarnata L. on the motor activity of rats.

Material and methods:
Behavioural testing was performed in rats previously exposed to P. incarnata L. extract (30, 100, 300 mg/kg b.w). To explain the neurobiochemical background of behavioural changes, the concentration of neurotransmitters after extract consumption were assayed in CNS structures responsible for motor function using High Performance Liquid Chromatography.

The study demonstrated that exposure to the extract resulted in dose dependent modulation of rats behaviour, and altered neurotransmission in major elements of the CNS locomotor system. The changes concerned primarily the cerebellar and spinal dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems.

Inhibitory effect of P. incarnata L. extract on the GABAergic pathway has potential as a sedative agent and may be promising alternative to benzodiazepines in controlling anxiety and hyperactivity. The significant increase in the level of spinal dopamine may be potentially useful in disorders related to a deficit in dopaminergic neurotransmission. These findings could lead to the development of specific supportive therapies for anxiety and symptoms of gradual loss or impairment of motor behaviour.

de Araújo Esteves Duarte I, Milenkovic D, Borges TK, de Lacerda de Oliveira L, Costa AM. Brazilian passion fruit as a new healthy food: from its composition to health properties and mechanisms of action. Food Funct.2021;12(22):11106–11120. doi:10.1039/d1fo01976g.
Fonseca AMA, Geraldi MV, Junior MRM, Silvestre AJD, Rocha SM. Purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis f. edulis): A comprehensive review on the nutritional value, phytochemical profile and associated health effects. Food Res Int. 2022;160:111665. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2022.111665.
Pereira ZC, Cruz JMDA, Corrêa RF, Sanches EA, Campelo PH, Bezerra JA. Passion fruit (Passiflora spp.) pulp: A review on bioactive properties, health benefits and technological potential. Food Res Int. 2023;166:112626. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2023.112626.
Lee J, Jung HY, Lee SI, Choi JH, Kim SG. Effects of Passiflora incarnata Linnaeus on polysomnographic sleep parameters in subjects with insomnia disorder: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2020;35(1):29–35. doi:10.1097/YIC.0000000000000291.
Janda K, Wojtkowska K, Jakubczyk K, Antoniewicz J, Skonieczna-Żydecka K. Passiflora incarnata in Neuropsychiatric Disorders – A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2020;12(12):3894. doi:10.3390/nu12123894.
Dos Reis Izolan L, da Silva DM, Oliveira HBL, de Oliveira Salomon JL, Peruzzi CP, Garcia SC, Dallegrave E, Zanotto C, Elisabetsky E, Gonçalves CA, Arbo MD, Konrath EL, Leal MB. Sintocalmy, a Passiflora incarnata Based Herbal, Attenuates Morphine Withdrawal in Mice. Neurochem Res. 2021;46(5):1092–1100. doi:10.1007/s11064-021-03237-w.
Miyasaka LS, Atallah AN, Soares BG. Passiflora for anxiety disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;(1):CD004518. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004518.pub2.
Rokhtabnak F, Ghodraty MR, Kholdebarin A, Khatibi A, Seyed Alizadeh SS, Koleini ZS, Zamani MM, Pournajafian A. Comparing the Effect of Preoperative Administration of Melatonin and Passiflora incarnata on Postoperative Cognitive Disorders in Adult Patients Undergoing Elective Surgery. Anesth Pain Med. 2016;7(1):e41238. doi:10.5812/aapm.41238.
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;22(1):e95-e101. doi:10.4317/medoral.21140.
da Cunha RS, Amorim KS, Gercina AC, de Oliveira ACA, Dos Santos Menezes L, Groppo FC, Souza LMA. Herbal medicines as anxiolytics prior to third molar surgical extraction. A randomized controlled clinical trial. Clin Oral Investig. 2021;25(3):1579–1586. doi:10.1007/s00784-020-03468-1.
Gadioli IL, da Cunha MSB, de Carvalho MVO, Costa AM, Pineli LLO. A systematic review on phenolic compounds in Passiflora plants: Exploring biodiversity for food, nutrition, and popular medicine. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018;58(5):785–807. doi:10.1080/10408398.2016.1224805.
Grundmann O, Wang J, McGregor GP, Butterweck V. Anxiolytic activity of a phytochemically characterized Passiflora incarnata extract is mediated via the GABAergic system. Planta Med. 2008;74(15):1769–73. doi:10.1055/s-0028-1088322.
Appel K, Rose T, Fiebich B, Kammler T, Hoffmann C, Weiss G. Modulation of the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system by Passiflora incarnata L. Phytother Res. 2011;25(6):838–43. doi:10.1002/ptr.3352.
da Fonseca LR, Rodrigues RA, Ramos AS, da Cruz JD, Ferreira JLP, Silva JRA, Amaral ACF. Herbal Medicinal Products from Passiflora for Anxiety: An Unexploited Potential. ScientificWorldJournal 2021;6598434. doi:10.1155/2020/6598434.
Elsas SM, Rossi DJ, Raber J, White G, Seeley CA, Gregory WL, Mohr C, Pfankuch T, Soumyanath A. Passiflora incarnata L. (Passionflower) extracts elicit GABA currents in hippocampal neurons in vitro, and show anxiogenic and anticonvulsant effects in vivo, varying with extraction method. Phytomedicine 2010;17(12):940–9. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2010.03.002.
Nassiri-Asl M, Shariati-Rad S, Zamansoltani F. Anticonvulsant effects of aerial parts of Passiflora incarnata extract in mice: involvement of benzodiazepine and opioid receptors. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007;7:26. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-7-26.
Aman U, Subhan F, Shahid M, Akbar S, Ahmad N, Ali G, Fawad K, Sewell RD. Passiflora incarnata attenuation of neuropathic allodynia and vulvodynia apropos GABA-ergic and opioidergic antinociceptive and behavioural mechanisms. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016;16:77. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1048-6.
Speroni E, Minghetti A. Neuropharmacological activity of extracts from Passiflora incarnata. Planta Med. 1988;54(6):488–91. doi:10.1055/s-2006-962525.
Schunck RVA, Macedo IC, Laste G, de Souza A, Valle MTC, Salomón JLO, Nunes EA, Campos ACW, Gnoatto SCB, Bergold AM, Konrath EL, Dallegrave E, Arbo MD, Torres ILS, Leal MB. Standardized Passiflora incarnata L. Extract Reverts the Analgesia Induced by Alcohol Withdrawal in Rats. Phytother Res. 2017;31(8):1199–1208. doi:10.1002/ptr.5839.
Blecharz-Klin K, Joniec-Maciejak I, Jawna K, Pyrzanowska J, Piechal A, Wawer A, Widy-Tyszkiewicz E. Effect of prenatal and early life paracetamol exposure on the level of neurotransmitters in rats-Focus on the spinal cord. Int J Dev Neurosci. 2015;47(Pt B):133–9. doi:10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2015.09.002.
Soulimani R, Younos C, Jarmouni S, Bousta D, Misslin R, Mortier F. Behavioural effects of Passiflora incarnata L. and its indole alkaloid and flavonoid derivatives and maltol in the mouse. J Ethnopharmacol. 1997;57(1):11–20. doi:10.1016/s0378-8741(97)00042-1.
Zanoli P, Avallone R, Baraldi M. Behavioral characterisation of the flavonoids apigenin and chrysin. Fitoterapia 2000;71 Suppl 1:S117–23. doi:10.1016/s0367-326x(00)00186-6.
Rodríguez-Landa JF, German-Ponciano LJ, Puga-Olguín A, Olmos-Vázquez OJ. Pharmacological, Neurochemical, and Behavioral Mechanisms Underlying the Anxiolytic- and Antidepressant-like Effects of Flavonoid Chrysin. Molecules 2022;27(11):3551. doi:10.3390/molecules27113551.
Breivogel C, Jamerson B. Passion flower extract antagonizes the expression of nicotine locomotor sensitization in rats. Pharm Biol. 2012;50(10):1310–6. doi:10.3109/13880209.2012.674535.
Singh B, Singh D, Goel RK. Dual protective effect of Passiflora incarnata in epilepsy and associated post-ictal depression. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;139(1):273–9. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.11.011.
Sampath C, Holbik M, Krenn L, Butterweck V. Anxiolytic effects of fractions obtained from Passiflora incarnata L. in the elevated plus maze in mice. Phytother Res. 2011;25(6):789–95. doi:10.1002/ptr.3332.
Deng J, Zhou Y, Bai M, Li H, Li L. Anxiolytic and sedative activities of Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;128(1):148–53. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.12.043.
Klein N, Gazola AC, de Lima TC, Schenkel E, Nieber K, Butterweck V. Assessment of sedative effects of Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa and Passiflora alata extracts in mice, measured by telemetry. Phytother Res. 2014;28(5):706–13. doi:10.1002/ptr.5043.
Pastorelli G, Serra V, Turin L, Redaelli V, Luzi F, Barbieri S. Tranquillizing Effect of Passiflora incarnata Extract: Outcome on Behavioral and Physiological Indicators in Weaning Pigs with Intact Tails. Animals (Basel) 2022;12(2):203. doi:10.3390/ani12020203.
Christoffoli MT, Bachesk AB, Farah GJ, Ferreira GZ. Assessment of Passiflora incarnata L for conscious sedation of patients during the extraction of mandibular third molars: a randomized, split-mouth, double-blind, crossover study. Quintessence Int. 2021;52(10):868–878. doi:10.3290/j.qi.b1492199.
Ennaceur A. One-trial object recognition in rats and mice: methodological and theoretical issues. Behav Brain Res. 2010;215(2):244–54. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2009.12.036.
Kandel ER, Dudai Y, Mayford MR. The molecular and systems biology of memory. Cell. 2014;157(1):163–86. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2014.03.001. PMID: 24679534.
Srikumar BN, Raju TR, Shankaranarayana Rao BS. The involvement of cholinergic and noradrenergic systems in behavioral recovery following oxotremorine treatment to chronically stressed rats. Neuroscience 2006;143(3):679–88. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2006.08.041.
Li BX, Jin H, Zhang GJ, Cui LN, Chu CP, Qiu DL. Effect of Noradrenaline on the Facial Stimulation-Evoked Mossy Fiber-Granule Cell Synaptic Transmission in Mouse Cerebellar Cortex. Front Neurosci. 2021;15:785995. doi:10.3389/fnins.2021.785995.
Sun N, Li BX, Hong YJ, Bing YH, Qiu DL, Chu CP. Noradrenaline depresses spontaneous complex spikes activity of cerebellar Purkinje cells via α2-adrenergic receptor in vivo in mice. Neurosci Lett. 2019;703:38–44. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2019.03.008.
Scullion GA, Kendall DA, Sunter D, Marsden CA, Pardon MC. Central noradrenergic depletion by DSP-4 prevents stress-induced memory impairments in the object recognition task. Neuroscience. 2009;64(2):415–23. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.08.046.
Jawna-Zboińska K, Blecharz-Klin K, Joniec-Maciejak I, Wawer A, Pyrzanowska J, Piechal A, Mirowska-Guzel D, Widy-Tyszkiewicz E. Passiflora incarnata L. Improves Spatial Memory, Reduces Stress, and Affects Neurotransmission in Rats. Phytother Res. 2016;30(5):781–9. doi:10.1002/ptr.5578.
Hosseini P, Mirsadeghi S, Rahmani S, Izadi A, Rezaei M, Ghodsi Z, Rahimi-Movaghar V, Kiani S. Dopamine Receptors Gene Expression Pattern and Locomotor Improvement Differ Between Female and Male Zebrafish During Spinal Cord Auto Repair. Zebrafish. 2022; doi:10.1089/zeb.2021.0081.
Lambert AM, Bonkowsky JL, Masino MA. The conserved dopaminergic diencephalospinal tract mediates vertebrate locomotor development in zebrafish larvae. J Neurosci. 2021;32(39):13488–500. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1638-12.2012.
Ingale SP, Kasture SB. Protective Effect of Standardized Extract of Passiflora incarnata Flower in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. Anc Sci Life 2017;36(4):200–206. doi:10.4103/asl.ASL_231_16.
Abg Abd Wahab DY, Gau CH, Zakaria R, Muthu Karuppan MK, A-Rahbi BS, Abdullah Z, Alrafiah A, Abdullah JM, Muthuraju S. Review on Cross Talk between Neurotransmitters and Neuroinflammation in Striatum and Cerebellum in the Mediation of Motor Behaviour. Biomed Res Int. 2019;1767203. doi:10.1155/2019/1767203.
Puopolo M. The hypothalamic-spinal dopaminergic system: a target for pain modulation. Neural Regen Res. 2019;14(6):925–930. doi:10.4103/1673–5374.250567.
Zhu Q, Mao LN, Liu CP, Sun YH, Jiang B, Zhang W, Li JX. Antinociceptive effects of vitexin in a mouse model of postoperative pain. Sci Rep. 2016;6:19266. doi:10.1038/srep19266.
Reimer MM, Norris A, Ohnmacht J, Patani R, Zhong Z, Dias TB, Kuscha V, Scott AL, Chen YC, Rozov S, Frazer SL, Wyatt C, Higashijima S, Patton EE, Panula P, Chandran S, Becker T, Becker CG. Dopamine from the brain promotes spinal motor neuron generation during development and adult regeneration. Dev Cell. 2013;25(5):478–91. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2013.04.012.
Guerrero FA, Medina GM. Effect of a medicinal plant (Passiflora incarnata L) on sleep. Sleep Sci. 2017;10(3):96–100. doi:10.5935/1984-0063.20170018.
Toda K, Hitoe S, Takeda S, Shimizu N, Shimoda H. Passionflower Extract Induces High-amplitude Rhythms without Phase Shifts in the Expression of Several Circadian Clock Genes in Vitro and in Vivo. Int J Biomed Sci. 2017;13(2):84–92.
Kim GH, Kim Y, Yoon S, Kim SJ, Yi SS. Sleep-inducing effect of Passiflora incarnata L. extract by single and repeated oral administration in rodent animals. Food Sci Nutr. 2019;8(1):557–566. doi:10.1002/fsn3.1341.
Kim GH, Lim K, Yang HS, Lee JK, Kim Y, Park SK, Kim SH, Park S, Kim TH, Moon JS, Hwang IK, Yoon YS, Seo HS, Nam SM, Kim MY, Yoon SG, Seong JK, Yi SS. Improvement in neurogenesis and memory function by administration of Passiflora incarnata L. extract applied to sleep disorder in rodent models. J Chem Neuroanat. 2019;98:27–40. doi:10.1016/j.jchemneu.2019.03.005.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top