Valentine’s Day is just around the bend, and it just so happens to be put right into one of the more stressful times of the year (tax season), which means some of us may need a little help getting “in the mood.” Damiana, Turnera diffusa, is one of those amazing herbs that provides a bit of relaxation and stimulation in just the right ways. It also has a few other benefits that make it worth looking at for those few who don’t need the aforementioned help.
Species: diffusa, aphrodisiaca
Common Names: Damiana, Mexican Damiana, Mexican Holly
Parts Used: Arial Parts (everything above the ground)
Properties and Actions: Increase libido, relieve depression, reduce blood sugar, calm nerves, reduce spasms, dry secretions, stimulate digestion, antiseptic, kidney tonic, energy tonic, general tonic, increase urination, and mild laxative.
Damiana is native to Mexico, Central and South America, and the West Indies. It was used by the Aztecs as an aphrodisiac, by Mexican women to stimulate lovemaking, and is commonly included in herbal remedies for prostate health. Science has not determined its usefulness yet, but traditional medicine has made this herb the go-to for most sexual issues for both men and women. Some people have also recorded that they experienced a mild euphoria after consuming damiana, almost like the effects of cannabis. The euphoric effect and the sexual stimulation make this a great herb to use in place of alcohol as well. Some people have also reported that after taking damiana, their alcohol cravings have been reduced.
All playfulness and speculation aside, what does damiana actually do? Traditional medicine uses damiana as a sexual stimulant and to treat both erectile dysfunction and anorgasmia. This is most likely due to the fact that damiana increases circulation to the sexual organs in the human body, and increases their sensitivity as well. Damiana is also a great hormone balancer and is used quite often to help women who suffer from premenstrual tension (PMT) as well as women who are going through menopause. It is a natural anti-anxiety and anti-depressant, the effects of which can be most clearly witnessed when you are actively feeling down or out of sorts before drinking the tea. In many cases, the feeling of well-being will be almost immediate. Many people have smoked damiana in order to wean themselves off tobacco, and with a great degree of success. Since damiana is both antiseptic and diuretic, it is often used in the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Many traditional medicine systems also use damiana for bronchitis and asthma.
Cautions and Warnings:
As with all herbs, respect should be given and caution should be used. Damiana does tend to increase libido as well as fertility in women, and sperm count in men. Consume this herb with family planning in mind. Some people have reported erotic dreams shortly after beginning regular consumption, however these tend to dissipate after a week or so. Damiana also has a history as an abortifacient herb (can cause abortions), so please do not use damiana while pregnant. There is a chance that, with prolonged use, it could interfere with the body’s ability to absorb and use iron. But this usually only happens when consumed more than 3 days a week for long periods of time. However, this is definitely an effect that should be monitored if you are prone to anemia. Also, since damiana does have the effect of lowering blood sugar, if you are diabetic you should exercise caution with this herb. Avoid it if you are hypoglycemic or taking medications to lower your blood sugar. This effect is only a concern when consuming the tea, tinctures should be safe, but your blood sugar should be monitored just in case.
I hope everyone has a wonderfully romantic Valentine’s Day this year! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below!
Annie’s Remedy: Damiana: http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail201.php
Happy Herb Company: Damiana: http://happyherbcompany.com/damiana
Henriette’s Herbal: Properties and Uses of Damiana: http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/bios/bios-king-damiana.html
Herbal Resource: Damiana – A Medicinal Herb: http://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com/damiana-herb.html
Herb Wisdom: Damiana: http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-damiana.html
Mayo Clinic: Anorgasmia in Women: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anorgasmia/basics/definition/con-20033544
Mayo Clinic: Erectile Dysfunction: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/basics/definition/con-20034244
Raintree: Damiana: http://www.rain-tree.com/damiana.htm#.WJfu31MrJ1s