Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
Damiana is a small shrub that grows about three feet tall with small fragrant flowers. Blossoms appear in early to late summer. The plant then grows fruits that taste similar to figs. The herb likes dry soil and full sun. It grows well in Central and South America and Namibia, as well as other hot dry areas.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Damiana has been taken as an aphrodisiac since the days of the Mayans and the Aztecs. This unique herb has also been used to treat sterility, impotence, diabetes, asthma, bladder infections and respiratory problems. It has been used to overcome sexual performance anxiety for adults and shyness in teens during puberty. Studies have shown that this herb binds with progesterone receptors in the breast cancer cells.
Damiana has also been prescribed for anxiety, depression and disorders of the menstrual cycle like dysmenorrhea, headache, complexion problems, acne and eczema. It can also help regulate the cycle, especially at the start of puberty. It has also been used to strengthen the nervous system. Some people use the herbal remedy during childbirth, to treat alcoholism and anorexia, for general debility, diabetes, nocturia and paralysis.
Externally Not used externally
Other Uses Damiana is used to flavor a Mexican liqueur by the same name that can be added to drinks like margueritas. It is also used to flavor some foods. It is also used in homeopathy for anxiety, depression, nervousness and to regulate hormones.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Damiana may be combined with oats to make a nerve tonic. It also combines well with Kola or Skullcap.
Leaves The leaves of the herb are dried and used medicinally. Leaves are harvested while the plant is flowering and then dried before use.
Avoid damiana if you have liver or urinary tract disease. This herb may cause mild indigestion. Excessive use may cause nausea, vomiting and tinnitus. Stop taking if you experience any of these symptoms and see a physician. Pregnant and nursing women should not take this herb. It should not be given to young children. People with diabetes and hypoglycemia should use caution, as it can cause extreme swings in blood sugar levels. It should not be taken on a long-term basis. There are no known drug interactions with this herb.
Preparation and Dosage
Damiana is available as tea, capsules and tincture. Take no more than one cup of tea, one dropperful of tincture or two capsules per day so your liver does not get overburdened.