Damiana leaves have been used as an aphrodisiac and to boost sexual potency by the native peoples of Mexico, including the Mayan Indians and is used for both male and female sexual stimulation, increased energy, asthma, depression, impotence and menstrual problems.
Damiana is a small shrub with aromatic leaves found on dry, sunny, rocky hillsides in south Texas, Southern California, Mexico, and Central America. Damiana leaves have been used as an aphrodisiac and to boost sexual potency by the native peoples of Mexico, including the Mayan Indians. The two species used in herbal healing are referred to as Damiana, are Turnera aphrodisiaca and Turnera diffusa.
Historically Damiana has been used to relieve anxiety, nervousness, and mild depression, especially if these symptoms have a sexual component. The herb is also used as a general tonic to improve wellness.
Damiana has also been used traditionally to improve digestion and to treat constipation, as in larger doses it is thought to have a mild laxative effect.
It is popular in southwestern cultures as a sexuality tonic and is recommended by many top herbalists. It stimulates the intestinal tract and brings oxygen to the genital area. It also increases energy levels, which does a lot to restore libido and desire. In women, Damiana often restores the ability to achieve orgasm. Damiana is used primarily as an energy tonic and an aphrodisiac for both men and women.
Damiana has a dual effect. It can work quickly to stimulate the genital area by enriching the oxygen supply. Longer-term use can improve sexual fitness and performance.
The libido-boosting power of Damiana has not been tested in humans, although liquor is made from the leaves, it has been used for a long time as an aphrodisiac in Mexico. In animal studies, extracts of Damiana speeded up the mating behavior of "sexually sluggish" or impotent male rats. It had no effect on sexually potent rats.
The chemical composition of Damiana is complex and not all of the components have been completely identified. However, the known make-up is 0.5-1% volatile oil, flavonoids, gonzalitosin, arbutin, tannin and damianin (a brown bitter substance). It also contains essential oils (containing cineol, cymol, pinene), cyanogenic glycosides, thymol and trace amounts of phosphorus.How Damiana works as an aphrodisiac is currently not known. It is also claimed that when drank as a tea it has a relaxing effect not-unlike low doses of cannabis.
- If you are taking other medications, refrain from taking herbal supplements without first checking with your doctor. Herbal supplements and over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs can combine to cause adverse side effects. Just because an herbal supplement is extracted from, a “natural” source does not render it any less potent than any other chemicals you may ingest.
- Damiana is likely safe when taken in amounts commonly found in foods. Damiana is possibly safe when taken in medicinal amounts, but there have been serious side effects. Convulsions and other symptoms similar to rabies or strychnine poisoning have been reported after taking 200 grams of Damiana extract.
Special Precautions and Warnings:
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of Damiana during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
- Diabetes: Damiana might affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use Damiana.
- Surgery: Since Damiana seems to affect blood glucose levels, there is a concern that it might interfere with blood glucose control during and after surgery. Stop using Damiana at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.