Damiana, Turnera diffusa, is a small shrub with aromatic leaves found on dry, sunny, rocky hillsides in south Texas, Southern California, Mexico and Central America. Damiana leaves have been used as an aphrodisiac and to boost sexual potency by the native peoples of Mexico, including the Mayan Indians.

Health Benefits of Damiana

Historically, Damiana has been used to relieve anxiety, nervousness and mild depression, especially if these symptoms have a sexual component.

Damiana leaves have been used as an aphrodisiac and to boost sexual potency by the native peoples of Mexico, including the Mayan Indians and is used for both male and female sexual stimulation, increased energy, asthma, depression, impotence and menstrual problems.

Damiana has been used traditionally to improve digestion and to treat constipation, as in larger doses it is thought to have a mild laxative effect. The herb is also used as a general tonic to improve wellness.

Damiana as an Aphrodisiac

Damiana is well known in southwestern cultures as a sexuality tonic and is recommended by many top herbalists. It stimulates the intestinal tract and brings oxygen to the genital area. It also increases energy levels which does a lot to restore libido and desire. In women, Damiana often restores the ability to achieve orgasm. Damiana is used primarily as an energy tonic and an aphrodisiac for both men and women.

How damiana works as an aphrodisiac is currently not known. It is also claimed that when drank as a tea it has a relaxing effect not-unlike low doses of cannabis.

Damiana has a dual effect. It can work quickly to stimulate the genital area by enriching the oxygen supply. Longer term use can improve sexual fitness and performance.

The libido-boosting power of damiana hasn’t been tested in humans, although a liquor made from the leaves has long been used as an aphrodisiac in Mexico. In animal studies, extracts of damiana speeded up the mating behavior of “sexually sluggish” or impotent male rats. It had no effect on sexually potent rats.

Active Ingredients in Damiana

Damiana leaves and stems contain various bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, terpenoids, phenolics, and volatile oils. These compounds are believed to contribute to the plant’s potential medicinal properties, including its purported effects on mood, relaxation, and sexual health.

The chemical composition of Damiana is complex and all of the components have not been completely identified. However, the known make-up is 0.5 – 1% volatile oil, flavonoids, gonzalitosin, arbutin, tannin and damianin (a brown bitter substance). It also contains essential oils (containing cineol, cymol, pinene), cyanogenic glycosides, thymol and trace amounts of phosphorus.

Here’s how different parts of the Damiana plant are used medicinally:

Leaves: Herbal Infusions: Damiana leaves are commonly used to make herbal infusions or teas. The dried leaves are steeped in hot water to extract their bioactive compounds, creating a flavorful and aromatic herbal tea.

Traditional Medicine: In traditional herbal medicine, damiana leaf tea is used to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. It’s also believed to have aphrodisiac properties and may be used to enhance sexual function.

Digestive Aid: Damiana leaf tea is sometimes consumed to support digestion and alleviate symptoms of indigestion or mild gastrointestinal discomfort.

Herbal Preparations: While not as commonly used as the leaves, the stems of the damiana plant may also be included in herbal preparations for their potential medicinal properties. They contain similar bioactive compounds as the leaves and may be utilized in teas or extracts.


Liquid Extracts: Damiana leaf extracts, often in liquid form, are available as dietary supplements. These extracts are concentrated preparations that may contain higher levels of bioactive compounds compared to herbal teas.
Capsules or Tablets: Some supplements may contain powdered damiana leaf extract in capsule or tablet form for convenient consumption.

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Damiana Herb Notes / Side Effects

Damiana appears to be safe when taken occasionally as a sex booster. It has a long history of traditional medicinal and food use with no harmful consequences reported for moderate quantities.

It is thought that large quantities of Damiana taken internally may cause insomnia and headaches, however no rigorous scientific studies have examined the effects of long-term use of this herb.

Latin Names

Turnera aphrodisiaca and Turnera diffusa

Common Names

Damiana, Hierba de la pastora, Mexican damiana, Mizibcoc, Old woman’s broom.

Properties of Damiana

Mild purgative, diuretic, tonic, stimulant, hypochondriasis, aphrodisiac, alterative, aperient, carminative, cholagogue, emmenagogue, laxative, nervine, urinary antiseptic and yang tonic.

Damiana is indicated for:

Sexual stimulation, increases energy, oxygenates genital area, asthma, depression, impotence, menstrual problems, nervous dyspepsia, atonic constipation (lazy colon), debility and lethargy. Specifically indicated in anxiety neurosis with a predominant sexual factor.

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