How many herbs can you say have ties to the original alcoholic version of Coca-Cola and the original version of the margarita? The damiana herb certainly has a colorful history that can be dated back to the Mayan Indians, most notably with improving sexual function in both males and females. No wonder Coke called itself the "real thing" -- well, that and the coca leaves used in the original formula.
The herb is actually a small shrub that can be found in hot and humid regions in Central America, South America, and in Texas. The blossoms are said to have an odor similar to chamomile from the oils present in the plant.
Damiana Central Nervous System Health Benefits
Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is a central nervous system tonic with benefits for the reproductive organs. Tonics made from damiana are typically used to help restore, tone and invigorate systems in the body or to promote general health and well-being.
Damiana Libido & Reproductive System Health Benefits
Medically, the damiana herb has been used as an aphrodisiac, as a relaxant, to improve digestion, to treat constipation, and to help relieve certain menstruation symptoms. In Holland, it is renowned for its sexual enhancing qualities and positive effect on the reproductive organs. This may be because the herb helps bring oxygen to the genital area, increases energy levels that can help restore libido and desire, as well as restores the ability to achieve orgasm. The pharmacology of the plant suggests that its alkaloids could have testosterone-like actions. According to Wellness International Network, damiana can help revive sex drive in perimenopausal and menopausal women by replenishing depleted testosterone. Yes, women need testosterone too.
Recent studies indicate that damiana actually works much like sildenafil (Viagra). In fact, at identical doses (10 mg/kg) both facilitate the expression of male sexual behavior by shortening ejaculation latency. They also show that damiana facilitates both the number of discharges in the ejaculatory motor pattern as well as associated penile erections. All of this suggests, then, that that the primary reason for damiana’s pro-sexual effect involves the participation of the nitrous oxide pathway, mainly at the central level, thus improving blood flow to the sexual organs. (For this reason, it should not be used while taking blood pressure medications as it might cause them to over-perform.)
And finally, damiana’s anti-anxiety benefits probably also come into play when it comes to improving sexual performance. For all of these reasons, you’ll find it in both Jon Barron’s Men’s Formula and Women’s Formula.
Damiana Asthma Health Benefits
Interestingly, damiana is used predominantly in Indian medicine for the treatment of asthma. The Mayan name of the herb, mik kok, which means "asthma broom," reflects this usage. In the Bahamas, the steam produced when the herb is boiled in water is inhaled and used to treat headaches.
Damiana as Mood Enhancer
Damiana herb is a major component of countless herbal remedies, aphrodisiacs, love potions, and impotence cures. Curiously, it leaves many people with a feeling of happiness and well-being. Because of this, it is often used as a mood enhancer to help alleviate stress, anxiety, nervousness, and mild depression in both men and women.
How to Use Damiana
The most common form of use is through making a tea with the leaves. However, it has also been smoked, burned as incense, and brewed into tinctures. And it is also still used today in some liqueurs found in Mexico.