What is Damiana? Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Damiana benefits - Damiana for men

What is Damiana

Damiana is a dwarf shrub that goes by the Latin name Turnera diffusa. Botanically, the plant belongs to the saffron mallow family. The natural range extends from southern North America through Mexico to Argentina.

Although damiana can reach a height of up to two meters in some locations, the shrub usually stays smaller than one meter. Its elongated, downy leaves have a wavy edge and are finger-like arranged.

The bush begins to bloom in early July. The yellow flowers, which are about four centimeters in size, arise from the upper leaf axils and are visually reminiscent of the flowers of some buttercup plants. The flowers develop into rather inconspicuous, rusty fruits with a size of between two and four millimeters.

Even the Maya knew about the healing and stimulating effects of the damiana plant. The shrub received its name from Spanish missionaries in the 17th century. They named the shrub Damiana after Saint Damian, the patron saint of all pharmacists.

What does Damiana Leaf Contain

The leaves contain valuable essential oils, starch, resins, arbutin, and the bitter substances adamantine and tannin. The stems of the Damiana shrub also contains caffeine. Because of their ingredients, especially the essential oils, the damiana leaves smell very aromatic.

Damiana benefits

The natives in the distribution area used Turnera diffusa regularly against various diseases, such as coughs or kidney diseases. The essential oils it contains are said to make breathing easier and relax the bronchi. Damiana is also said to have a positive effect on digestion. Supposedly it can therefore help to improve abdominal pain. Some women still trust the soothing effect of menstrual cramps.

Damiana for Men

Good to know: In addition to a slightly euphoric effect, the consumption of the Damiana herb is also said to have a certain aphrodisiac effect. That is why primitive peoples have already used the herb as a natural aphrodisiac. In fact, when consumed regularly, it stimulates blood circulation, which, among other things, is said to have a strengthening effect on the sexual organs. According to studies, however, the intensity of this effect is perceived very individually.

Read Also: 5 Fantastic Facts About Fertility

Damiana for Smoking

Similar to marijuana, smoking damiana herb is said to be calming, relaxing, and mildly intoxicating for some individuals. However, this has not yet been scientifically proven! Nevertheless, some smokers use it as a tobacco substitute. Damiana is said to even clean the lungs when smoked. Although there are supposedly positive experiences in this regard, well-founded scientific studies are still missing.

Damiana Tea

Besides inhaling, drinking damiana as a tea is the best-known and most popular way to experience the special effects of this herb. For this purpose, the dried herb is crushed and brewed as tea. It is recommended to infuse about two teaspoons of damiana with a cup of boiling water. Then it should draw between five and ten minutes. Then strain, possibly sweetens with a little honey, and drink in small sips. If you like, Damiana can also be mixed with orange blossoms, lemon balm, or peppermint tea.

Damiana Medicinal Uses

Damiana is also used in modern pharmacies. It is used in many preparations, as a capsule or as a tea, often in combination with other teas and herbs. These products are mainly sold through pharmacies, online, and erotic shops.

Pharmacists and naturopaths also recommend tea made from damiana leaves to strengthen or calm down, against diarrhea, and menstrual or kidney problems. Some pipe smokers value damiana as a mild substitute for traditional tobacco.

Cultivation of Damiana / Harvest Damiana

The shrub prefers dry locations, which is why it usually grows in higher-altitude mixed forests, on cliffs, or on limestone. Sow in spring in a sunny to partially shaded spot. It is watered very rarely, but then plentifully. The plant is perennial. The harvest also takes place in the spring through vigorous pruning. Then the entire plant with herb and stems is first dried and later chopped up to fit.

Damiana side effects

The long-term effects of regular damiana consumption have not yet been adequately researched. Although no specific harmful side effects are known to be attributable solely to the consumption of this plant, children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should avoid it as a precaution.


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