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Phytomedicine. 2010 Oct;17(12):940-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.03.002. Epub 2010 Apr 10.

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.

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Department of Neurology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


Potential mechanisms of Passiflora incarnata extracts and the effect of extraction methods on ingredients and biological effects were explored. Using the same batch of plant material, total flavonoid yields as measured by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to diode array detection (HPLC-DAD) increased substantially with hot versus cold extraction methods. Whole Passiflora extract induced prominent, dose-dependent direct GABA(A) currents in hippocampal slices, but the expected modulation of synaptic GABA(A) currents was not seen. GABA was found to be a prominent ingredient of Passiflora extract, and GABA currents were absent when amino acids were removed from the extract. Five different extracts, prepared from a single batch of Passiflora incarnata, were administered to CF-1 mice for 1 week in their drinking water prior to evaluation of their behavioral effects. Anticonvulsant effects against PTZ-induced seizures were seen in mice that received 2 of the 5 Passiflora extracts. Instead of the anxiolytic effects described by others, anxiogenic effects in the elevated plus maze were seen in mice receiving any of the 5 Passiflora extracts.

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