The 11+ Benefits of Damiana (Turnera Diffusa or Aphrodisiaca)

Marijuana's "Legal High" Alternative

Damiana is a shrub native to southern Texas in the United States, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. R

Maya Indians called this species mis kok ("broom for asthma"). R

Damiana has been traditionally used as a remedy against stomach aches, lung diseases related to tobacco abuse, bladder and kidney infections, arthritis, diabetes, and scorpion stings. R

Today, it's commonly sold in headshops as a "legal high", because smoking the leaves may produce similar effects to smoking marijuana. R

 
 

Basics

There are 135 species of Turnera. R

They range in a plethora of benefits:

  • Adaptogenic R
  • Antianxiety R
  • Antiaromatase R
  • Antibacterial R
  • Antihyperglycemic R
  • Antiinflammatory R
  • Antimycotic R
  • Antiobesity R
  • Antioxidant R
  • Antispasmodic R
  • Antiulcerogenic R
  • Aphrodesiac R 
  • Gastroprotective R 
  • Hepatoprotective R

The one I am going to focus on in this post is Turnera Diffusa (aphrodisiaca), also known as Damiana. 

 
 

Benefits Of Damiana

1. Increases Sexual Vitality 

Damiana is an aphrodisiac. R R

It is commonly referred as "poor man's Viagra". R

It can help men with anorgasmia (the inability to reach an orgasm). R

It can also help men have more than one ejaculation (decreases the time of a postejaculatory interval). R

As an aromatase inhibitor, damiana can help increase testosterone. R

In women, the use of ArginMax (containing  L-arginine, ginseng, ginkgo, damiana, multivitamins, and minerals), helps with sexual function after menopause. R R

Independent of ArginMax, the combination of damiana with folic acid, selenium, vitamin E, catechins, glycyrrhizin, diosgenin, and omega-3-fatty acids has shown to help with female fertility. R

2. Increases Energy

 
 

Damiana can produce a stimulant-like effect. R

Unlike other plants in the turnera family, damiana contains no caffeine. R

Low doses of damiana may be more sedative. R

3. Has Anti-Anxiety and Anti-Depressant Properties

One way damiana enhances sexual performance (as seen above) is by decreasing anxiety. R 

This is because damiana has apigenin, (the main constituent in chamomile that produces relaxation). R R

It also smells very similar to chamomile. R

Damiana also has anti-depressant and anti-stress effects. R R

As I mentioned before, damiana has similar properties to marijuana in its ability to produce euphoric and almost hallucinogenic effects. R

It's commonly put into tequila and margaritas in Mexico to enhance its mood-boosting properties (this seems like probably as a date-rapish type combo IMO). R

4. Has Anti-Cancer Effects

Damiana is toxic to some cancer cells, such as breast cancer, nasopharynx cancer, and human hepatoma. R R

In a study done in vitro, damiana was able to inhibit cancer cell growth by 31.3%. R

5. Has Antioxidant Properties

Damiana has powerful anti-oxidant properties and can clean up free radicals in the cell. R R

In combination with thyme, damiana increases the body's natural antioxidants and lowers oxidative stress. R

Damiana is also high in the antioxidant, beta-carotene. R

Damiana protects the brain against oxidation and stops fat from oxidizing in the blood. R

6. Has Anti-Microbial Properties

 
 

Damiana acts as both an antibiotic and antimycotic (fights funguses). R

It has shown to be effective against:

  • Bacilus subtilis R
  • Enterobacter aerogenes R
  • Escherichia coli R
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae R
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis R
  • Proteus vulgaris R
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa R
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens R
  • Salmonella typhi R
  • Sarcina lutea R
  • Shigella boydii R
  • Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) R 
  • Vibrio cholerae R
  • Yersinia enterocolitica R

It's also been used to treat gonorrhoea in Latin American societies. R

7. Protects The Gut

Damiana has traditionally been used to treat ulcers. R

This is because damiana reduces ulcer size, improves the mucous in the gut, and reduces swelling of the gastric lining. R

It also decreases inflammation and immune activation in lesioned areas of the gut. R

Damiana does not change the output of hydrochloric acid (the main enzyme that helps break down protein). R

Damiana has also been used to help constipation, as it may have a laxative effect. R

8. Protects The Kidneys And Liver

Damiana has been attributed to help with bladder/kidney infections and has a diuretic effect. R

It also protects the kidneys from oxidative stress. R

Damiana protects the liver by improving malondialdehyde (MDA) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels. R

It also helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the liver. R

9. Protects Against Diabetes 

 
 

Damiana can be used to treat diabetes Type 2 diabetes. R R

It helps control blood sugar spikes and protects against hyperglycemia. R

10. Helps With Obesity

The herb preparation YGD is widely used in South America to modulate physiological processes which influence gut motility, food intake, and energy balance. R

It contains yerba maté, guarana, and damiana and is considered to have an antiobesity effect. R

YGD has shown to help reduce food intake, slow gastric movement, and reduce body weight. R

When combined with inulin or resveratrol, damiana's weight loss effects are even more significant. R R

11. Helps The Muscular System

Damiana can help with muscle spasms. R

It helps relax the muscles, which is also one mechanism as to why damiana helps with sexual dysfunction. R

Also, at very high doses damiana helps with pain. R

Caveats

Damiana may cause hypoglycemia. R

It may also inhibit iron absorption, but I haven't found strong evidence to support this. R

Damiana shows no toxicity at high doses in mice, but may cause oxidative stress to the brain. R R

It can be toxic when combined with high doses of alcoholR

The glycosides, tannins, and arbutin in damiana from long-term use may cause inflammation to the liver. R

Damiana appears to have no effect on neurodegenerative diseases though. R

My Experience With Damiana

I was combining damiana at one point with saw palmetto, black cohosh, and suma (given to be by a "naturopathic doctor" for helping my "adrenal fatigue" 😂).

This was before I read about each of their individual mechanisms of action.

I would not recommend this combo, since it was giving me problems with maintaining erections. 

Going off this combo for 2 months (damn!) brought everything back to life 😉.

When I take damiana alone, I get a stimulant like effect.

When I take it with suma, I get an anti-depressant and aphrodisiac like effect as well.

Where To Get Damiana

 
 

I've tried it as:

If you're growing damiana, UVB and UVC will help the plant produce more antioxidants. R R

Mechanism Of Action

Simple:

  • Damiana has may beneficial properties that control its ability to have anti-oxidant properties, protecting cells and the vascular system.
  • Damiana also helps with anxiety by altering neurotransmitters and reducing inflammation. 

Advanced:

  • Turnera diffusa produces its main benefits from its constituents: apigenin, arbutin, coumaroyl, damianine, glucopyranoside, gonzalitozine, luteolin, quercetin and tetraphyllin B. R R
  • Damiana has weak estrogenic activity and an aromatase inhibitor. R R
  • Damiana increases nitric oxide (NO). R
  • It increases glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), while decreasing malondialdehyde (MDA). R 
  • It crosses the blood brain barrier. R
  • Damiana increases GABA, which helps with its anxiety and antispasmatic effects. R
  • Arbutin in damiana inhibits IL-6 and TNF-alpha, while increasing IL-10. R
  • For its antidiabetic properties, insulin may need to be secreted or administered. R
  • Damiana inhibits p--glycoprotei (Pgp) and CYP3A. R

More Research

  • Damiana may be toxic to dogs. R