Health benefits of Damiana

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Damiana Quick Facts
Name: Damiana
Scientific Name: Turnera diffusa
Origin It is commonly found in the Caribbean region, Gulf of Mexico and Southern Africa. Native to Southwestern Texas in United States, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean and South America.
Shapes Small, globular
Taste Resemble figs
Health benefits Treat sexual problems, Calms mind, Cure stomach ulcers, Supports weight loss, Treat infections
Also referred as Damiana Leaves, Wild Countryside Damiana Leaves, herba de la pastora, old woman’s broom, Mexican damiana, oreganello and the bourrique, this plant is commonly found in the Caribbean region, Gulf of Mexico and Southern Africa. Damiana is native to Southwestern Texas in United States, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean and South America. Scientifically, it is also known as Turnera diffusa. Damiana is a low growing plant that has been used for the centuries as a bladder tonic and aphrodisiac by indigenous cultures. Historically, it was used to promote sexual desire. It is used for increasing energy, depression, asthma, menstrual problems and impotence by native people of Mexico including Mayan Indians as well.

Damiana has complex chemical composition and still all the components have not been able to be identified completely. This plant has flavonoids, 0.5-1% volatile oil, arbutin, gonzalitosin, damianin and tannin. It also possess damianin, gonzalitosin I, tetraphyllin B, arbutin, acacetin, tricosan-2-one, p-cymene, β-sitosterol, apigenin, α-pinene, β-pinene, β-carotene, eucalyptol, thymol and hexacosanol.

Plant

Damiana is a shrub belonging to the Passifloraceae family that bears small and aromatic flowers when it reaches upto 2 meters in height. It blossoms from early to late summer. The flowers turn into the fruits whose taste resembles figs. The measurement of leaves is about 1-2.5 in length and upto 6 mm wide. It is smooth and has pale green upper surface. It is ovate to lanceolate in shape with short petioled and 2 glands at base. The margins are recurved and have few serrate teeth. It provides odor similar to chamomile due to the presence of essential oils.

Health Benefits of Damiana

Damiana leaves possess aphrodisiac properties that are helpful for enhancing sexual potency. It also treats anxiety, stress and mild depression. Let us discuss on its health benefits on detail:

  1. Treat sexual problems

Not only male, it is effective for women as well. It assists men to regain sexual prowess whereas it benefits women sexuality. Damiana provides positive effect on libido due to which it enhances the flow of blood to genital regions. The research has been only made on laboratory rats which show that Damiana could effectively treat sexual dysfunction. Though number of animal studies has been carried out still human studies should be made to recommend it as an aphrodisiac.

  1. Calms mind

Damiana is an aid for nervous disorders and stress. It is not confirmed to be effective for anxiety and stress but the presence of damianin helps to provide a calming effect on nervous system. It is used to enhance mood for centuries. It is useful for treating stress associated symptoms such as bed wetting, upset stomach and also calm the nerves. It helps to enhance energy and also increases stamina that helps to lethargy and fatigue.  

  1. Cure stomach ulcers

Damiana helps to treat gastric complaints such as gastric ulcers. The arbutin content of plant helps to treat two types of ulcer. It possesses anti-ulcer activity and antioxidant properties.

  1. Supports weight loss

It acts like a mild laxative which helps to loosen stools and also cleanses system. A study shows that the combination of Damiana, guarana and yerbe mate provides thermogenic effect that helps to suppress appetite. It also makes the patients feel full faster and slows gastric emptying.

  1. Treat infections

It is an effective aid for bladder problems by easing the bladder problems as well as urination.

  1. Supports digestion

Damiana assist the process of breakdown of sugars an fats in digestive system that enhance the absorption of nutrients. It clears digestive tract from toxins that could interfere in digestion and makes feel sick. It is effective for treating constipation and indigestion due to the presence of laxative properties.

  1. Treat breast cancer

Cancer has become the major cause for death in the world that affects over six millions of lives in a year. Its treatments are very expensive. In traditional medicine, Damiana is used as an aphrodisiac, stimulant and diuretic. The stems and leaves are used for infusion or flavoring. The studies have shown the antioxidant, antibacterial, estrogenic, prosexual and antiaromatase activity of Turnera diffusa Wild. The study was carried for evaluation of cytotoxic effects of extract as well as organic fractions on five tumor cell lines. The methanolic extract showed greater activity on breast cancer cells. (1)

Traditional uses

  • It is an aid for nervous dyspepsia, depression, coital inadequacy, constipation and anxiety neurosis.
  • The preparation of Damiana is useful for treating sexual disorders and prophylaxis.
  • It is also used for its relaxing effects.
  • It provides stimulating effect on libido.
  • Damiana is an aid for mild depression.
  • It supports digestion, calms nerves, lifts spirits, stimulates genito-urinary tract, regulates hormonal activity and rejuvenates kidney energy.
  • Use it internally for treating anxiety, exhaustion, impotence, and depression, debility in convalescence, prostate complaints, premature ejaculation, frigidity, urinary infections, painful menstruation, vaginal discharge, poor appetite, atonic constipation and menopausal problems.
  • It is used to stimulate sexual behavior and sexual dysfunction in women.
  • Intake the capsules that contains the mixture of Yerba Mate, damiana and Guarana assist weight loss.
  • It effectively treats headache, nervous stomach and bedwetting.
  • It is also used to treat nervousness and hypertension.
  • It lowers hot flashes at the time of menopause.
  • It is used as a laxative for children.

 Precautions 

  • It may cause cyanide poisoning.
  • Prevent excessive use due to the presence of arbutin and cyanogenetic glycosides.
  • It may cause genitourinary irritation and tetanus like rigidity.
  • The excessive use of Damiana causes hallucinations.
  • In diabetic patients, it might interrupt with the blood sugar.
  • Nursing mothers, pregnant women and people having liver issues should not use Damiana.
  • It should not be used two weeks before the scheduled surgery.

How to Eat

Leaves are used to make tea and are used to add flavor to liqueurs.

Damiana tea

Ingredients:

  • Dried damiana leaves
  • Raw honey
  • Lemon wedge
  • Water

Procedure:

  • Place 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves of Damiana in a clean coffee mug.
  • Make one cup of water to a boil and pour it over the Damiana leaves or in the mug.
  • Let it steep for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Strain it into another coffee mug.
  • A teaspoon of raw honey could be added to sweeten tea.
  • It could be garnished with lemon wedge for providing an additional flavor. Or half teaspoon of lemon juice could be added.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=22215#null

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/136721/

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Turnera+diffusa+aphrodisiaca

https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/damiana

http://www.healthline.com/health/damiana-ancient-aphrodisiac#overview1

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-703-damiana.aspx?activeingredientid=703&activeingredientname=damiana

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-damiana.html

https://www.drugs.com/npc/damiana.html

http://articles.mercola.com/herbs-spices/damiana.aspx

http://www.healthy-r-us.co.uk/Information_Center_damiana.htm

https://healthyfocus.org/the-top-5-benefits-of-damiana/                                   

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