Latin: Turnera diffusa
Parts Used: leaves
Taste/Energetics: Bitter, sweet, warming, drying
Properties: Diuretic, nervous system and reproductive tonic, stimulant, antimicrobial, aphrodisiac, anxiolytic, stimulant, laxative, astringent, expectorant
Actions: Native to Mexico, Central America, Texas and parts of Brazil, damiana has had a long history of use by indigenous Mayans, Aztecs and Guarana peoples and has long been revered for its libido enhancing properties. Because of this history Damiana tends to be thought of as the “sex herb”, which is a pretty limited way of looking at it. Damiana both relaxes and stimulates the nervous system, bringing a calm but elevated mood. It improves circulation and digestion, strengthens menstrual flow (for delayed and painful mensutruation) and has antimicrobial properties that are helpful when fighting a bladder or bronchial infection. It is especially useful for that wet, irritated spasmodic cough with lingering infection.
Though primarily thought of as an herb for men, it has a tonic effect on both men and women’s sexuality, improving libido, impotence and premature ejaculation. In terms of mental health, it has a marked stimulating and anti-depressant quality that makes it really useful for those who feel lethargic, stuck, depressed, cool and heavy. It helps gently warm and stimulate the system. It can be helpful for the timid, shy type who has some anxiety around sexual performance.
Dosage: 1-2 tsp infused in hot water for 10 minutes. As tincture take 1-2 ml – to 2 x/day.
Contraindications: Avoid large doses of herb as there have been some cases of convulsions with this herb. Avoid taking for greater than a week due to concerns of liver damage.
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Damiana monograph by John Uri Lloyd