What is Damiana?
Herba de la pastora, Mexican damiana, old woman's broom, Turnera aphrodisiaca, T. diffusa, T. microphylla
The leaf and the stem of the damiana plant are the most commonly used components. Damiana was first used by the Mayans in the treatment of giddiness and loss of balance. Its primary use in the last century has been as an aphrodisiac, a use that was described in the scientific literature as early as 100 years ago.
Usage: Ethanolic extracts have central nervous system (CNS) depressant activity, and the quinone arbutin may be responsible for antibacterial activities. Damiana is available as capsules, powder, tea, and tincture.
Damiana affects the nervous system, acting as an anti-depressant. It sooths anxiety, nervousness and mild depression, and promotes a general feeling of well-being. Damiana also stimulates circulation which raises energy levels to alleviate fatigue and stimulate weight loss. Other known uses for Damiana are:
as a mild laxative, useful for relieving constipation
soothing headaches caused by menstruation
the thinning of fluids resulting from asthma, colds, and flu
strengthening of the nervous and hormonal systems
Damiana is a commonly added ingredient to smoking mixtures and herbal tea blends. When smoked or drunk as a tea, it has a relaxing effect not unlike low doses of cannabis. Damiana has an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac to increase and stimulate sexual appetite.
Damiana is used mainly for its aphrodisiac effects, for prophylaxis, and for treating sexual disturbances. It's also used to control bedwetting, depression, constipation, and nervous dyspepsia; to strengthen and stimulate during exertion; and to boost and maintain mental and physical capacity.
Damiana is boiled in water and the steam is inhaled to relieve headaches. There have been some reports of recreational use, with euphoric and hallucinogenic effects.
Extract: 2 to 4 ml by mouth three times a day
Capsules: 2 to 4 g by mouth three times a day
Tea: 1 cup (2 to 4 g) in 5 oz (150 m!) boiling water, by mouth three times a day.
Adverse reactions associated with damiana include insomnia, headache, hallucinations, urethral mucous membrane irritation, and liver injury. Damiana may interfere with the action of antidiabetics.
Pregnant and breast-feeding patients shouldn't use this herb because the effects on them are unknown.
Safety Risk When more than 7 oz (198 g) of extract is consumed, patient may display tetanus-like convulsions and paroxysms.
Diabetic patients should discuss the use of damiana with a health care provider before taking it with an antidiabetic.
Monitor blood glucose level closely in diabetic patient taking both damiana and an antidiabetic.
Advise diabetic patient to check blood glucose level regularly and to report alterations to health care provider.
Monitor liver function tests, as needed.
Evaluate for drug use any patient claiming to have had damiana-induced hallucinations.
Advise pregnant patient, breast-feeding patient, and patient of childbearing age to avoid using this herb because of a lack of sufficient information about its safety.
Advise patient to avoid performing activities that require mental alertness until the herb's CNS effects are known.
Tell patient to promptly report adverse reactions or new signs and symptoms to a health care provider.
Tell patient to remind pharmacist of any herbal or dietary supplement that he's taking when obtaining a new prescription.
Advise patient to consult his health care provider before using an herbal preparation because a treatment with proven efficacy may be available.
The concepts behind the use of damiana and the claims made regarding its effects haven't yet been validated scientifically.
Nature's Answer's Damiana Leaves
Nature's Way's Dandelion Root