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Damiana

Uses

Botanical names:
Turnera diffusa

Parts Used & Where Grown

The leaves of damiana were originally used as medicine by the indigenous cultures of Central America, particularly Mexico. Today the plant is found in hot, humid climates, including Mexico and parts of Texas, the Caribbean, and southern Africa.

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Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Depression
Refer to label instructions
Damiana has traditionally been used to treat people with depression.

Damiana has traditionally been used to treat people with depression. Yohimbine (the active component of the herb yohimbe) inhibits monoamine oxidase (MAO) and therefore may be beneficial in depressive disorders. However, clinical research has not been conducted for its use in treating depression.

1 Star
Erectile Dysfunction
Refer to label instructions
Damiana is a traditional herbal treatment for men with erectile dysfunction.

Damiana  (Turnera diffusa) is a traditional herbal treatment for men with ED. However, no modern clinical trials have confirmed its effectiveness.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Damiana has been hailed as an aphrodisiac since ancient times, particularly by the native peoples of Mexico.1 Other folk uses have included asthma, bronchitis, neurosis, and various sexual disorders.2 It has also been promoted as a euphoria-inducing substance.

How It Works

Botanical names:
Turnera diffusa

How It Works

Most research has been done on the volatile oil of damiana, which includes numerous small, fragrant substances called terpenes.3 As yet, it is unclear if the volatile oil is truly the main active constituent of damiana. Damiana extracts have been shown, in a test tube, to weakly bind to progesterone receptors.4 Thus, damiana may be a potentially useful herb for some female health problems. However, no human studies have investigated this possibility and it is not a primary traditional use.

How to Use It

To make a tea, add 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water to 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) of dried leaves and allow to steep for ten to fifteen minutes. People can drink three cups (750 ml) per day. To use in tincture form, take 1/2–3/4 teaspoon (2–3 ml) three times daily. Tablets or capsules (400–800 mg three times per day) may also be used. Damiana is commonly used in herbal combinations. However, the authors of the German Commission E monographs do not feel that traditional use of this herb is justified by modern research.5

Interactions

Botanical names:
Turnera diffusa

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Turnera diffusa

Side Effects

The leaves have a minor laxative effect and may cause loosening of the stools at higher amounts. Until more is known about damiana’s effects on the female hormonal system, it should be avoided during pregnancy.6

References

1. Bradley PR (ed). British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. Bournemouth, Dorset, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 71–2.

2. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 492.

3. Bradley PR (ed). British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. Bournemouth, Dorset, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 71–2.

4. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1998;217:369–78.

5. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 325–6.

6. Mills SY. Out of the Earth: The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine. Middlesex, UK: Viking Arkana, 1991, 516–7.

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