Sacred Power Plant - Damiana Benefits
Damiana is a small shrub with an aromatic leaf found on dry, sunny, rocky hillsides in south Texas, Southern California, Mexico, and Central America. The leaf has been used as an aphrodisiac and to boost sexual potency by the native peoples of Mexico, including the Mayan Indians. The two species used in herbal healing, both of which are referred to as damiana, are Turnera aphrodisiaca and Turnera diffusa.
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Damiana is an excellent source of flavonoids, tannin, volatile oil, cyanogenic glycosides, arbutin, phenolics, thymol, hexacosanol, arbutin, β-carotene, maltol glucoside, fatty acids, β-pinene, monoterpenoids, tetraphyllin B, phosphorus, acacetin, caffeine, triterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, flavonoid gonzalitosin, β-sitosterol and essential oils (α-pinene, cineol, cymol).
Botanical Family: Passifloraceae (Turneraceae)
Other Common Name: Mexican damiana, Mexican holly, old woman’s broom, chac-mixib, misibcoc, chat.
Common names in Spanish: Damiana de California, damiana de Guerrero, hierba de la pastora, pastorcita, hierba del venado, oreganillo.
Native Habitat: This aromatic shrub is native to Tropical America, from Mexico to South- America and the Caribbean (Van Wyk and Wink, 2014; Quattrocchi, 2012; Mabberley, 2008; Seidemann, 2005).
Parts of the plant used: Mainly the leaves, although the flowers and fruit are sometimes used.
How is it used?
Damiana leaves and stems are steeped in water to make a tea. Currently, various dietary supplements containing damiana leaves are also available as capsules or liquid extracts. Certain liqueurs purportedly contain damiana as a flavoring.
Uses and Indications
Approximately six species belonging to the Turnera genus are employed traditional medicine around the world, although damiana is the species most notably used, especially as an aphrodisiac. Various other traditional uses of related species include the treatment of anemia, anxiety, anti-aromatase, antibacterial (including antimycobacterial), antidepressant, anti-diabetic, antioxidant, adapatogenic (against stress), antimicrobial, anti-obesity, antispasmodic, antitumor, bronchitis, chronic cystitis, coughs, cytotoxic, expectorant, fever, frigidity, fungal infections, gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, impotence, increase libido, laxative, to relieve pain, respiratory diseases, skin disorders, and to promote menstruation. Apigenin is a natural compound found in the leaves that was identified in animal experiments as the antinociceptive (pain relieving) principle of damiana.