Damiana has been used in Mexico and southward to Central and South America since the times of the ancient Aztec, and is still quite popular today.1,2 Although its effect on sexual desire was its primary use across cultures, it was also valued as a nerve relaxant, digestive stimulant, mood enhancer, and simply an enjoyable beverage that was given to children. In more recent times it has been used as an herbal smoke, often combined with other herbs, and a liqueur.2,3
Bitter digestive stimulant, mild purgative, diuretic, tonic (for the nervous and reproductive system) hypochondriastic (quelling hypochondria),4 laxative, stimulant,5 nervine, emmenagogue, astringent, expectorant,1,6 urinary antiseptic
Damianin, resins, tannins, a variety of minerals4,6 alkaloids, cyanogenic glycosides6,7
Damiana was a major ingredient (alongside French wine, coca leaf, and cola nut) in the popular 19th century beverage Pemberton's French Wine Coca which claimed to be a panacea for ills ranging from nerve exhaustion to sexual troubles. This wine was created by the same pharmacist that invented Coca-Cola, and was marketed mostly to upper class intellectuals. Characters such as Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle reportedly enjoyed this brew on occasion.8
T. diffusa leaves are approved for food use as a flavoring agent in the U.S. and appear in the FDA's list of substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), however this plant is considered illegal, and has been since 2005, in Louisiana. This was due to reported overdoses of synthetic cannabis which consisted of a herbal blend containing Damiana. Laboratory-made, synthetic cannabinoids are added to herbal mixtures often containing damiana and sold in states where cannabis remains illegal. These fake cannabis products are extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
Specific: No known precautions.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
- Taylor L. Rain-tree database. Accessed at http://www.rain-tree.com/chamomile.htm#. on June 15, 2014.
- De Luca, D. Botanica Erotica: Arousing Body, Mind, and Spirit. Rochester: Healing Arts Press; 1998
- http://www.damiana.net/ Accessed on June 15, 2014.
- Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. Accessed at http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html on June 13, 2014.
- Lust, J. The Herb Book. New York: Bantam books; 1974.
- Duke J. A. Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Accessed at http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/ on June 9, 2014
- Hoffman, D. The Herbal Handbook: A User's Guide to Medical Herbalism. Rochester: Healing Arts Press; 1998.
- Pendergrast, Mark (2000). For God, Country, and Coca Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It (2 ed.). Basic Books. pp. 24–30.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.