Damiana, also known as Turnera diffusa, is a low-growing plant with yellow flowers and fragrant leaves. It’s native to the subtropical 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 had been using it for centuries as an aphrodisiac and bladder tonic.
Like a lot of herbs sold today, damiana is said to help enhance sexual health and treat a vast array of symptoms from diabetes to anxiety. However, there isn’t much more than anecdotal evidence to support these claims. Despite the lack of scientific evidence to support these claims, damiana continues to be used by many people, as it has been for years.
To use damiana, you consume its leaves. It’s thought to increase sexual arousal and stamina in men and women.
Traditionally, it’s been used for treating bladder and urinary issues. Some people like the way the herb makes them feel because of its effect on the bladder. These uses aren’t supported by contemporary research.
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 feel better because taking in extra fluid tends to ease bladder pain. But if you think you have a urinary tract infection, put down the teacup and get to a doctor’s office before it gets worse.
Over the centuries and around the globe, many things have been credited as aphrodisiacs. Oysters, asparagus, and artichokes have a history as aphrodisiacs, and some say plants like saw palmetto and Spanish fly make us crazy in bed.
It’s important to remember that there is no federal regulation of herbal remedies sold in the United States. Use caution when considering whether to take any herbal therapies. If you choose to take damiana for sexual reasons, make sure you check out the dosing information below and ask your doctor first.
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 should not consume damiana, nor should people with liver issues. In high doses, damiana is said to cause hallucinations. If you experience hallucinations while taking damiana, keep calm and get medical help as quickly as possible.
Read the label on your damiana preparation for dosage instructions. A general guide is to take 2 to 4 grams or less of dried damiana in tea or capsule form with meals, three times a day. Individual experiences will vary, but hallucinations have been reported at doses of 200 g.
Damiana has been sold as an ingredient called “spice,” present in some herbal mixtures that mimic the effects of marijuana. States vary on the legality these blends, but damiana is legal everywhere in the United States except Louisiana.
Damiana has been used for centuries as an aphrodisiac, but modern research is lacking in its actual effectiveness as a sex enhancer. Is damiana a surefire ignition to a great sex life? Probably not. But if you’re healthy, it might not be harmful. As always, be sure to talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.