Damiana: An Ancient Aphrodisiac

If someone told you “Damiana” was the name of an ancient Central American goddess of love, that might seem believable. The name certainly sounds exotic and romantic enough! But it turns out to be the name of a plant that has a history of romantic (and exotic) uses.

Damiana is a low-growing plant with yellow flowers and fragrant leaves. It’s native to the sub-tropical climates of southern Texas, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Damiana’s use as an herbal remedy predates written history. By the time the Spanish crossed the Atlantic, indigenous cultures seemed to have been using it for centuries as an aphrodisiac and bladder tonic.

Like a lot of herbs sold today, damiana is said to treat a vast array of symptoms in addition to sexual health, from diabetes to anxiety. There isn’t much more than anecdotal evidence to support these claims. That said, given its long-term popularity, it’s clear that damiana has been used by a lot of folks.

What Is It Good For?

You get the purported benefits of damiana by consuming its leaves. Studies are few, but there’s evidence that it can increase sexual arousal and stamina in men and women. This may have to do with increased blood flow. It also could be a side effect of damiana, which suppresses estrogen.

Some people like the way the herb makes them feel because of its effect on the bladder. It’s been traditionally used for treating bladder and urinary issues. These uses are not supported by contemporary research, but they may relate to damiana’s purported “sexy” effect on women, since some women find mild bladder irritation sexually stimulating.

When it comes to bladder relief and herbal remedies that you drink or swallow with water, it’s hard to tell whether an individual herb is helpful. It’s possible that you just feel better because taking in extra fluid tends to ease bladder pain. If you think you have a urinary tract infection, put down the teacup and get to a doctor’s office before it gets worse.

You’ve Got the Love

Over the centuries and around the globe, many things have been credited as aphrodisiacs. Oysters, asparagus, and artichokes have all been labeled lewd, while some say that plants like saw palmetto and Spanish fly make us crazy in bed.

It is important to remember that there is not regulation of herbal remedies sold in the United States, so overall caution is advised when considering herbal therapies.

In present day lab tests, damiana has only proved to be sexually successful in tests involving male rats. If you choose to take damiana for sexual reasons, make sure you check out the dosing information below and ask your doctor first.

”Spice” Up Your Life?

These days, you can find dried damiana leaves in tea bags and capsules. It’s also sold in tinctures, both alcoholic and alcohol-free. Smoking and inhaling damiana leaves is possible but not advised.

Pregnant and nursing mothers must not consume damiana. People with liver problems should avoid it too. In high doses, damiana is said to cause hallucinations. If you hallucinate on damiana, keep calm and get medical help as quickly as you can.

Read the label on your damiana preparation for dosage instructions. A general guide is to start with 2-4 grams (g) or less of dried damiana (in tea or in capsule form) with meals, three times a day. Individual experience will vary, but hallucinations have been reported at doses of 200 g.

Damiana has been reported as an ingredient in some herbal mixtures that mimic the effects of marijuana (sometimes sold as “spice”). States vary on the legality of blends like this, but damiana is legal everywhere in the United States except Louisiana.

Is damiana a surefire ignition to a great sex life? Probably not. But if you’re otherwise healthy, it might not be harmful.