Botanical name: Turnera diffusa / Turnera afrodisia
Common names: Damiana, Herbs de la pastora, oreganillo, the bourrique, Mexican damiana, Mexican holly, damiana de Guerrero
Parts used: Leaves
Damiana is a shrub found throughout Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies, as well as in parts of South America. It grows up to 2 meters tall, and has a woody, heavily branched stem. Its leaves are pale green with hairy ribs. It bears small yellow flowers and inconspicuous fruits in a rough, three-chambered shell.
Damiana has an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac and is used today as a male and female sexual stimulant. It is used to treat erectile dysfunction and anorgasmia. Damiana is also used as a general tonic that can tone and balance the central nervous, hormonal, and reproductive systems and has be used to alleviate emotional stress, depression, anxiety hypochondria, obsessive compulsive disorder, neurosis, paranoia, etc. It is also used for nervous stomach conditions , for example, colic and dyspepsia. In Mexico, the plant is also used for asthma, bronchitis, neurosis, diabetes, dysentery, dyspepsia, headaches, paralysis, nephrosis, spermatorrhea, stomachache, and syphilis.
Persons with diabetes and hypoglycemia should use this plant with caution, as blood sugar levels should be monitored accordingly for this possible effect.
Damiana has a traditional use as an abortive and is contraindicated during pregnancy.