Latin name: Turnera diffusa (Turneraceae [damiana] family)
Damiana is an aromatic shrub of the hot and humid reaches of Texas, Mexico, Central America, and Namibia. Growing to a height of six feet (two meters), it bears upward-growing stems with pale, smooth, green leaves and small, yellow flowers. The leaves are harvested for medicinal use in summer, when the plant is in flower.
EVIDENCE OF BENEFIT
Damiana has been associated with improved sexual function for both men and women. It contains elements that directly stimulate the nerves, genitals, blood circulation, and metabolism. It has been reported to give a mild narcotic high that lasts for about an hour. Longer use of damiana increases its potency and helps to regulate sex hormones in women.
Damiana is used to treat sexual trauma, lack of sexual desire and pleasure, and impotence. However, it must be used consistently for several weeks before an effect is notice. It acts to clear the kidneys, help with digestion, relieve constipation, clear coughs, and help control bed-wetting.
Damiana is a stimulating nerve tonic used for debility, depression, and lethargy. It is used in Germany for its tonic action on the hormonal and central nervous systems.
Benefits of damiana for specific health conditions include the following:
(Source: Prescription for Herbal Healing, Copyright 2002, Phyllis A. Balch.)