Sleep-inducing effect of Passiflora incarnata L. extract by single and repeated oral administration in rodent animals

Food Sci Nutr. 2019 Dec 19;8(1):557-566. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.1341. eCollection 2020 Jan.


Social cost of insomnia in modern society is gradually increasing. Due to various social phenomena and lifestyles that take away the opportunity of good quality of sleep, problems of insomnia cannot be easily figured out. Prescription of sleeping pills for insomnia patients can cause other inconveniences due to their side effects beyond their intended purposes. On the other hand, Passiflora incarnata L. (PI) has been widely used in South America for several centuries, showing effectiveness for sleep, sedation, anxiety, and so on in the civilian population. However, reports on the treatment efficacy of this herbal medicinal plant for insomnia patients through standardization as a sleeping agent have been very rare. Therefore, we obtained leaves and fruits of PI (8:2 by weight) as powder to prepare an extract. It was then applied to C6 rat glioma cells to quantitate mRNA expression levels of GABA receptors. Its sleep-inducing effect was investigated using experimental animals. PI extract (6 μg/ml) significantly decreased GABA receptors at 6 hr after treatment. Immobility time and palpebral closing time were significantly increased after single (500 mg/kg) or repeated (250 mg/kg) oral administration. In addition, blood melatonin levels were significantly increased in PI extract-treated animals after both single and repeated administrations. These results were confirmed through several repeated experiments. Taken together, these results confirmed that PI extract had significant sleep-inducing effects in cells and animals, suggesting that PI extract might have potential for treating human insomnia.

Keywords: GABA receptors; Passiflora incarnata L.; immobility; insomnia; palpebral closing time.