Botanical Name: Turnera diffusa
Description: Damiana was recorded to be used as an aphrodisiac in the ancient Mayan civilization, as well as for "giddiness and loss of balance." A Spanish missionary first reported that the Mexican Indians made a drink from the damiana leaves, added sugar, and drank it for its purported power to enhance lovemaking.
Damiana has a long history of use in traditional herbal medicine throughout the world. It is thought to act as an aphrodisiac, antidepressant, tonic, diuretic, cough-suppressant, and mild laxative. It has been used for such conditions as depression, anxiety, sexual inadequacy, debilitation, bed-wetting, menstrual irregularities, gastric ulcers, and constipation. In Mexico, the plant also is used for asthma, bronchitis, neurosis, diabetes, dysentery, dyspepsia, headaches, paralysis, nephrosis, spermatorrhea, stomachache, and syphilis. Damiana first was recorded with aphrodisiac effects in scientific literature over 100 years ago.
From 1888 to 1947 damiana leaf and damiana elixirs were listed in the National Formulary in the United States. For more than a century damiana's use has been associated with improving sexual function in both males and females. The leaves are used in Germany to relieve excess mental activity and nervous debility, and as a tonic for the hormonal and central nervous systems. E. F. Steinmetz states that in Holland, damiana is renowned for its sexual-enhancing qualities and its positive effects on the reproductive organs. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia cites indications for the use of damiana for "anxiety neurosis with a predominant sexual factor, depression, nervous dyspepsia, atonic constipation, and coital inadequacy."
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. Damiana has an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac to increase and stimulate sexual appetite.