What is Damiana?

A scientific name for damiana is “Turnera diffusa.” Damiana is a shrub that is native to areas of Texas, United States, South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Damiana belongs to the family of Passifloraceae.

Damiana is a woody and small shrub, which produces aromatic and yellow flowers. Damiana blossoms in a period of early-late summer. Damiana shrub has a specific spice-like odor, which resembles chamomile. This pleasing scent is due to different essential oils present in this shrub.

History of Turnera diffusa:

The use of damiana as a herbal remedy has evidence in the past. As the Spanish crossed the Atlantic area, the effectiveness of damiana as bladder tonic and aphrodisiac increased in different cultures. Since then, damiana has been used for several health indications.

Ancient Mayan tribes used this shrub for hallucination and aphrodisiac purposes. In the year 1870, the US promoted the use of damiana as a patent medicine to enhance sexual functioning in both women and men.

Now, for commercial use, Mexico and Bolivia cultivate the Turnera diffusa. Dry soil and sunlight are the best favorable conditions for the harvesting of T. diffusa.

Uses of Turnera diffusa:

According to researches, out of 135 species of T. diffusa, half a dozen are in use for traditional medicines. Turnera diffusa Willd ex Schult is the highly sought after aphrodisiac species.

Experimentally proven bioactivities of damiana are:

  • Aphrodisiac
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Gastroprotective
  • Cytotoxic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiobesity
  • Adaptogenic
  • Antioxidant
  • Antidiabetic
  • Antimycobacterial
  • Antibacterial
  • Antiaromatase
  • Anxiolytic (ie. anti-anxiety).

Researchers did investigations on the antiobesity properties of damiana on human subjects with herbal preparations and Turnera diffusa leaves.

Moreover, other properties of damiana include the improvement of sexual functions among individuals, especially females.

Weight loss:

According to early research, a specific combination of damiana leaves with Yerba mate and guarana can effectively reduce excessive body weight in an obese population. This combination of herbs can suppress appetite. The results of the research showed that this combination delayed gastric emptying, which helped to produce a significant loss in body weight.

Appetite-suppressing properties of damiana can be helpful for the improvement of mood among individuals who tend to eat for emotional satisfaction. This mood enhancement can give them a “full-feeling,” which is a crucial determinant of consistent weight loss.


Cleansing properties of damiana make it a perfect remedy for treating urinary tract infections, urethritis, and cystitis. Diuretics are the medications helpful for increased extraction of urine for the body, which cleanses the body.

Sexual function:

According to the results of earlier studies, a specific combination of damiana, minerals, vitamins, ginkgo, ginseng, Panax American ginseng, and L-arginine can improve sexual function among men and women. The result of this herbal treatment shows improvement in sexual satisfaction and reduction of sexual dysfunction.


Antitussive herbs are those that can relieve coughing. Damiana is a cough relieving agent. Eucalyptol is an ingredient of damiana, which has long a successful use as a cough-relief herb.


Damiana works by releasing certain neurochemicals which can modify the nervous system and brain. Several psychological problems as headaches, depression, and anxiety are effectively treatable with damiana.

Other health benefits:

Anti-aromatase agent:

According to various studies, damiana has anti-aromatase properties, which are beneficial for men with higher than normal levels of estrogen.

These agents are also helpful in reducing the conversion of estrogen while using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

Drug interaction:

If you consume the damiana in combination with hypoglycemics or anti-diabetic medicines, then you should take caution. Hypoglycemics have indications to reduce blood sugar levels, and the use of damiana can also lower the sugar levels in the body. So, a combination of these two sugar-lowering agents can decrease the sugar to a dangerously low level. Therefore, you must monitor your blood sugar while consuming damiana products.

Medications for diabetes include:

  • Rosiglitazone
  • Pioglitazone
  • Metformin
  • Insulin
  • Glyburide
  • Glimepiride

There is no interaction of damiana with the use of other herbs.

According to pharmacology principles, damiana can cause drowsiness in combination with anti-anxiety drugs. The same is the case with other drug groups related to SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), TCAs (tricyclics), and antidepressant medications.


Dosage of damiana can range.

For dried leaf:

  • 450mg dose, with 1-3 capsules before breakfast
  • In the case of stomach upset, you should take a low-fat meal after the consumption of the medicine

For dried leaf tea:

  • 2-5 grams or ½ to 1 teaspoon in 120 ml of water (hot water).
  • Steep the mixture for 10 minutes and try to drink it 2-4 times every day.

For liquid extracts:

  • 60 drops in 2ml of any favorite beverage. You should consume this mixture 2-4 times every day.


Damiana (Ternera diffusa) is a natural herb which is useful for several health indications including sexual potency, weight loss, pain relief, and relaxation. Damiana is available in various forms as a leaf, dry leaves, tea, and in Alpha Male Plus.


Arletti R, Benelli A, Cavazzuti E, Scarpetta G, Bertolini A. Stimulating property of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata extracts on the sexual-behavior of male rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1999 Mar;143(1):15-9.

Hnatyszyn O, Moscatelli V, Garcia J, Rondina R, Costa M, Arranz C, Balaszczuk A, Ferraro G, Coussio JD. Argentinian plant extracts with relaxant effect on the smooth muscle of the corpus cavernosum of guinea pig. Phytomedicine. 2003 Nov;10(8):669-74.

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