Also known as
Turnera diffusa. Turnera aphrodisiaca has the same medicinal properties, whereas Turnera ulmifolia looks the same but has a different chemistry. Damiana aphrodisiaca, Herba de la Pastora, Mexican Damiana, Mizibcoc, Old Woman's Broom, Rosemary, Turnerae diffusae folium, Turnerae diffusae herba, Turnera microphyllia.
Damiana is a small shrub reaching a height of 4 to 6 feet (1-2 meters), bearing sweet-smelling, serrated leaves growing 4 to 10 inches (10-25 cm) long. Small, yellow flowers bloom in summer and are followed by small fruits with a fig-like taste. The Greeks named it aphrodisiakos, and it was known as the "goddess of love". The Mayas and Aztecs used damiana as an aphrodisiac, and also as a general tonic to improve health. They also used to smoke it for relaxation, as well as burning it during ceremonies to induce "visions". Currently, it is made into a liqueur in Mexico that is quite popular. The herb has historically been considered more important for focusing sexual energies than for creating them. Damiana has been popularly used across the Southwestern United States and Mexico as an aphrodisiac and for asthma, bronchitis, neurosis, diabetes, dysentery, dyspepsia, headaches, paralysis, nephrosis, spermatorrhea, stomachache, and syphilis. The current edition of the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia recommends the herb for "anxiety neurosis with a predominant sexual factor, depression, nervous dyspepsia, atonic constipation, and coital inadequacy." Damiana has earned a reputation as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, especially when the problem has strong emotional content.
The leaves contain up to 1% volatile oil consisting of 1,8-cineole, p-cymene, alpha- and beta-pinene, thymol, alpha-copaene, and calamene among other chemicals. The dry matter of the leaf includes a characteristic brown, bitter substance called damianin as well as tannins, flavonoids, beta-sitosterol, and the glycosides gonzalitosin, arbutin, and tetraphyllin B
Leaf and leaf stems, dried.
May be blended with other herbs as a tea blend, as the taste of it alone is rather bitter. It may also be compounded into an elixer, as a capsule and in extract form
Damiana is a popular aphrodisiac for men. The alkaloids contained within damiana stimulate blood flow to the genital area thereby increasing sensitivity; some even people report feelings of euphoria. It has also been traditionally used by numerous people for the purpose of enhancing orgasms in women, and for asthma, depression, digestive problems, and menstrual disorders. Two US patents list damiana as an ingredient in a "thermogenic" diet aid designed to increase metabolic rate.
Teas of damiana may lower blood sugars, but tinctures do not. Since one of the traditional uses of the herb was to induce abortion, it should be avoided in pregnancy.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.