Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
Other common names: Turnera aphrodisiaca (syn.), old woman’s broom, damiana leaf, Mexican damiana, rosemary (not the same plant as the more commonly known culinary herb, Rosmarinus officinalis.)
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Family: Passifloraceae (or Turneraceae)
Aphrodisiac, stimulant, hormone balancer, mild purgative, diuretic, tonic, astringent, reproductive tonic, aromatic, bitter, antimicrobial, mood elevator, central nervous system relaxant, genitourinary system tonic. Can lower blood sugar and boost testosterone.
Leaves are harvested in summer just as the plant starts to bloom.
Part used: Leaves (dried)
Damianin, alkaloids, bitters, β-sitosterol, tetraphyllin B, gonzalitosin I, tricosan-2-one, acacetin, arbutin, p-cymene, 1,8-cineole, β-carotene, β-pinene, eucalyptol, tannins, thymol, hexacosanol, apigenin, α-pinene, cyanogenic glycosides and others.
Loss of libido, reproductive health concerns, infertility, impotence, constipation, lack of appetite, headache, depression, nervous indigestion, exhaustion, dysmenorrhea, PMS, menstruation-induced migraines, low testosterone, urinary tract infections, long-term stress. It has sometimes been used to support prostate cancer patients, but this should not be attempted without the advice of a healthcare practitioner, and should be avoided during chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Damiana can be used in tinctures, teas and herbal extracts, among other preparations.
Not commonly used for topical concerns.
Do not use if pregnant or nursing. Do not administer to children under 18 and consult with a doctor prior to use if you are taking medications, diabetic/hypoglycemic, or have diarrhea. Its blood sugar lowering effect makes it unsafe for use in the two weeks leading up to surgery. Damiana is included in some blends meant to create a “legal high” when smoked. Marketed as “synthetic cannabis” or “Black Mambo”, the ill effects resulting from this misuse has caused it to become a prohibited plant in some countries, such as the UK.
Large doses (200 grams) have been known to cause poisoning, due to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides. Only use this herb under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional with knowledge in herbal medicine dosing. Also note that long-term dosage can interfere with iron absorption.
I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.
Damiana has both male and female connotations, as it assists in the libido and reproductive health of both sexes. Mayans were particularly fond of its sexual properties, and it was one of the top aphrodisiacs used by their civilization. It is traditionally used in the Mexican liqueur, Triple Sec. People in Central and South America use the leaves to make incense and tea.
Energetically, damiana is known to restore strength and vitality, and to reconnect the body and mind. It’s useful for those who try to ignore their physical urges, or neglect their body. It also helps those who dwell on their worries, or feel inadequate. It restores confidence and motivation.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.