What is Damiana?

Ancient Superherb for Modern Heart Healing. Damiana is the Flower of Love.

Damiana, also known as Turnera diffusa, is a low-growing plant with yellow flowers and fragrant leaves. It’s native to the subtropical climates of southern Texas, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Damiana’s use as an herbal remedy predates written history. By the time the Spanish crossed the Atlantic, indigenous cultures had been using it for centuries as an aphrodisiac and bladder tonic.

Like a lot of herbs sold today, damiana is said to help enhance sexual health and treat a vast array of symptoms from diabetes to anxiety. However, there isn’t much more than anecdotal evidence to support these claims. Despite the lack of scientific evidence to support these claims, damiana continues to be used by many people, as it has been for years.

What is Damiana Used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses the scientific literature on the plant dates back more than 100 years when reports described its aphrodisiac effects. Damiana history began with its early use by the Maya (under the name mizibcoc) in the treatment of giddiness and loss of balance. Its primary use in the last century has been as an aphrodisiac. Father Juan Maria de Salvatierra, a Spanish missionary, first reported that the Mexican Indians made a drink from the damiana leaves, added sugar and drank it for its love-enhancing properties. In the 1870s, it was imported into the US as a tincture and advertised as a powerful aphrodisiac, to improve the sexual ability of the enfeebled and the aged and to provide increased activity to all the pelvic secretions. Suffice to say that in this patent medicine era, it enjoyed some success.

Damiana was admitted into the first edition of the National Formulary (NF) in 1888 as an elixir and fluid extract. However, it never made it into the US Pharmacopeia and the elixir finally was dropped from the NF in 1916. The fluid extract and the crude drug (leaves) were listed in the NF until 1947. Although some commercial companies continued to sell it to the American market, damiana had almost disappeared until the 1960s "hippy" movement brought it back into popularity.

Damiana is used to treat headache, bedwetting, depression, nervous stomach, and constipation; for prevention and treatment of sexual problems; boosting and maintaining mental and physical stamina; and as an aphrodisiac. Traditionally, it’s been used for treating bladder and urinary issues.

Aging causes an increase in aromatase levels, which increases estrogen and reduces testosterone. ... Damiana extract can produce weak estrogen activity in the body, but, may increase testosterone levels by blocking the aromatase enzyme, which is beneficial during aging.

Today's use is primarily for sexual enhancement; as an aphrodisiac, however, many don't know it's also an excellent nerve relaxant, digestive stimulant, and mood enhancer. The ancients gave Damiana to keep their children calm when they were scared.