Damiana plant for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Damiana (Turnera diffuse, var. Aphrodisiaca) belongs to the Turneraceae family. Known for its natural antidepressant and stimulating tonic properties, it is useful in cases of insomnia, stress and anxiety. Let’s find out better.

Property of the damiana

The leaves of the damiana contain a cyanogen glycosideresins, an essential oil, tannins and a bitter substance (called damianina and with an as yet undetermined structure). The plant has a general antidepressant and tonic-stimulating action that can be exploited in case of physical or intellectual fatigue, tiredness, conditions of stress and depression, calms anxiety and helps fight nervousness and insomnia.

Damiana also has aphrodisiac properties, which makes it a valuable aid in cases of sexual asthenia and male impotence of psychological origin, especially in cases of performance anxiety and premature ejacu|ation. The rebalancing action of the mood is accompanied by the stimulation of the spinal nerve centers that control the functionality of the sexual organs. In particular, it seems that damiana acts on the center of erection located at the level of the pelvic-sacral parasympathetic nervous system in humans; and strengthens the female hormonal system, in the presence of dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea and menstrual pain.

Its phytocomplex is therefore capable of restoring sexual desire in both sexes. For this reason it is indicated in the treatment of both male and female sexual disorders, in case of sterility, to counteract decreased libido and sexual performance, in the treatment of impotence and in case of frigidity.

The presence of essential oil gives damiana an expectorant action, useful for treating cough, bronchitis and asthma.

Finally, it has a slight diuretic and antiseptic activity of the urinary tract, given by arbutin, indicated in case of cystitis, infections of the bladder and urogenital tract.

How to use

Only in high doses it can give a slight sensation of pain in the prostatic region, at the indicated doses it has no side effects. 

800 mg of dry extract in the form of tablets or capsules, to be taken in 2 stages: preferably in the morning and / or in the early afternoon between meals. It is recommended to take the product by carrying out treatment cycles lasting about 2 weeks.

Contraindications of damiana

There are no particular contraindications for the regulated intake of damiana. However, in case of overdosing, some side effects such as insomnia and headache and pain in the liver and prostate can occur. 

Furthermore, damiana, interacting with drugs for the control of glycemic levels, is contraindicated in diabetic patients.

Description of the plant

Small shrub up to 90 cm tall. The leaves are oval, lanceolate, with short petiole and 2 glands at the base, curved and slightly serrated margins; the upper surface is smooth and light green, with few trichomes the lower one. The flowers are yellow, solitary and axillary. The fruit is a small globose, aromatic and resinous capsule.

The habitat of the damiana

Native to tropical America: Mexico, Texas, Central and South America.


The botanical name Turnera derives from the English scientist William Turner who first classified it.

Damiana is known by the name of Mexican tea, already known in the times of the Maya, who used it as a tonic, as a diuretic and a laxative.

Mexican women have a habit of drinking a damiana infusion a couple of hours before bed, to seduce and arouse their man. In Mexico it is also used to treat asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, dysentery, dyspepsia, migraines, paralysis.

Damiana is included in the national formulary, as an aphrodisiac and as a remedy for impotence and frigidity. It is also indicated as a remedy for neurosis, impotence, frigidity, performance anxiety and nervous exhaustion.

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