Damiana: A Plant For Intimacy
Latin name: Turnera diffusa
Common name(s): Damiana, Mexican Damiana
Plant Family: Passifloraceae
Plant type: Small woody shrub
Parts used: Leaf
Habitat: Southern United States, Mexico, South America, West Indies
Damian has a long history of indigenous use with the Maya and Meshika (Aztec) People. It is believed that the indigenous Guaycura in the Baja region of Mexico were the first to use Damiana, and they began to trade the herb with the Meshika. Here it was used as a sexual and reproductive tonic and celebrated for its aphrodisiac qualities. A potent medicine; but gentle enough that it was used with children and the elderly.
There is a wide variety of documented uses for Damiana. From skin irritation, to lung and respiratory complaints and digestive disturbance as well. This wide range of therapeutic use may be a result of activating the parasympathetic nervous system and mild antibacterial quality.
Commonly consumed to this day throughout Mexico and Latin America as tea and Damiana liqueur.
Taste: Bitter, Spicy, Sweet
Actions: Nervine, tonic / trophorestorative, aphrodisiac, carminative, antispasmodic, bitter aromatic, Thymoleptic (anti-depressant, anti bacterial
Nervous system: Has a mild antidepressant activity. Especially indicated for people who are anxious and fearful of expression. When there is nervous tension that manifests as sexual blockage, tight shoulders, and cold body temperatures.
The ability for Damiana to lift the mood and spirits is a key to how this medicine works as an aphrodisiac. We always say that Damiana’s energetic signature is “ it makes you feel comfortable in your body; therefore expressing yourself;” if you want to take that in a sexy direction you can!
This herb is indicated for those who have nervous debility (fatigue and burnout), especially when it is accompanied by a low libido.
Reproductive system: Damiana is a warming aromatic herb that is slightly stimulating. It has an affinity to the pelvic bowl and brings circulation there. This action brings fresh blood to the reproductive system and can help with erectile dysfunction and arousal. In those who have a womb, Damiana can help with painful periods and decreasing blood clots in menses. In all sexes, Damiana is helpful for performance anxiety, the nervine action is calming to the chatter of the mind and promotes sinking into the pleasure of the body.
Urinary System: Damian is a mild antibacterial and antiseptic to the bladder and urinary system. The hydroquinone content has this action. This wouldn’t be our first pick for infections, but makes a nice adjuvant to a formula or for those who are prone to cystitis or urinary tract infections
Gastrointestinal System: The bitter taste always has an effect on the digestive system; and our friend Damina is bitter. Most bitter plants have a cooling action; however Damiana is one of the few warming bitter herbs. There is a high volatile oil content (aromatic compounds) that give this plant its carminative action. Carminatives are soothing to gas & bloating; helping peristalsis. Especially good for those with constipation and digestive disturbance from stress and anxiety.
Energetic Signature: Warming to the kidneys, affinity to the genitourinary system & Nervous system. Indicated for excess cold, stagnation and tension. Decreases Kapha and Vata, Increases pitta.
Damiana should be avoided in pregnancy and lactation
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Zhao J, Dasmahapatra AK, Khan SI, Khan IA. Anti-aromatase activity of the constituents from damiana (Turnera diffusa). J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Dec 8;120(3):387-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.09.016. Epub 2008 Sep 26. PMID: 18948180.
Cover Art by Vervain & Rue