Few clinical studies have been performed on damiana. Animal studies indicate that the herb has blood sugar–lowering effects and is an anti-inflammatory. It also seems to bind progesterone but not oestrogen and may be helpful in menopause formulas and to increase sexual function.
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 along with other herbs is used to treat sexual trauma, lack of sexual desire and pleasure, and erectile dysfunction (ED). However, it must be used consistently for several weeks before an effect is noticed. It may also act 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.
Damiana, damiane, oreganillo, the bourrique, Mexican damiana, Mexican holly, damiana de Guerrero
Damiana is a small shrub that grows 1-2 m high and bears aromatic, serrate leaves that are 10-25 cm long. Small yellow flowers bloom in early to late summer which are followed by small fruits with a sweet smell and fig-like flavour. The medicinal part of the plant is its leaves, which are harvested during the flowering season. Damiana is found throughout Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies, as well as in parts of South America.
Aztec legend states that damiana was a powerful aphrodisiac. The Mayans called it mizibcoc and used it in the treatment of giddiness and loss of balance. It is still made into a popular alcoholic drink in Mexico, where it is widely recognised as an aphrodisiac. The scientific literature on this plant dates back more than 100 years when reports described its aphrodisiac effects.
Requires a dry soil in a warm sunny sheltered position. It is possible that whilst the plant will be cut back to the ground by cold weather, the rootstock is hardier and will re-sprout in the spring. Sow seeds in spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and give some protection from winter cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Division in spring or autumn. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter the young plants in a greenhouse and plant them out in early summer. The leaves are harvested when the herb is in flower in summer.
anti-anxiety, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, bitter digestive stimulant, cough suppressant, diuretic, expectorant, hormonal, nervine, testosterogenic, tonic
ALS, Anxiety, asthma, bedwetting, catarrh, constipation, coughs, debility, depression, dysentery, dyspepsia, emphysema, erectile dysfunction, exhaustion, hangover, headache, hot flashes, infertility, low libido, malaria, menstrual cramps, Parkinson’s disease, prostatitis, urinary tract infection, venereal disease, and vertigo.
Damiana has been used to stimulate people with depression because it is a natural monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor.
Erectile dysfunction, menopause-related problems, and reduced sex drive
As an aphrodisiac, damiana works by sending blood to the genital area. It must be used consistently for several weeks before an effect is noticed. The leaf is infused to treat sexual trauma, frigidity, and impotence. Due to its testosterogenic quality, damiana has always been seen as a herb for men, helpful in treating premature ejaculation and impotence.
A clinical study involving 1,000 men in the United States and Europe indicates that the herb can relieve erectile failure in attempts at repeated intercourse after orgasm. It is a relaxing nervine and tonic with an affinity for nervous system problems that affect the reproductive system. It works by increasing blood flow, blood oxygenation, and energy in the affected area while it relaxes the whole person.
It combines well with Saw Palmetto and/or ginseng and was used that way by Native Americans for this purpose. A combination of damiana and muira puama is associated with an increased frequency of intercourse, morning erections, and stability of the erection during intercourse. In women, reports of increased sex drive.
Dosage (Divided Daily)
• Dried Leaf: 6,000 – 12,000mg (as a tea)
• Dried Powder: 3,000 – 6,000mg
• Tincture: 9 – 18mL (1:1)
Damiana has demonstrated mild hypoglycemic effects in animals.
Damiana has a traditional use as an abortive and is contraindicated during pregnancy.
Interactions with other drugs
- Balch, Phyllis A. and Stacey J. Bell. Prescription for Herbal Healing. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: Avery, 2012.
- British Herbal Medicine Association. Scientific Committee. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Consolidated ed. West Yorkshire: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1983.
- Herbalpedia 2013 (CD-ROM)
- Mars, Brigitte. The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine: The Ultimate Multidisciplinary Reference to the Amazing Realm of Healing Plants, in a Quick-Study, One-Stop Guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub., 2007.
- Taylor, Leslie. The healing power of rainforest herbs: a guide to understanding and using herbal medicinals. Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers, 2005.
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