Top 5 Uses Of Damiana
4 min

The Top 5 Uses Of The Herb Damiana, Including Sexual Performance

4 min
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This intriguing herb has been used for centuries by various cultures for a wide array of conditions. Modern science is discovering more about damiana and its applications on the human body. We look at the top 5 uses of damiana, including its potential as an aphrodisiac and weight loss agent, among other functions.

Damiana, otherwise known as Turnera diffusa, is a medicinal shrub native to South America, Central America, Mexico and southern areas of the United States. The plant is small in size and bares yellowish, aromatic flowers. Damiana is perhaps most well known for its apparent role as an aphrodisiac, boosting sexual desire and ramping up libido, especially among those with low sex drive. The use of damiana as an aphrodisiac has been well-documented in scientific literature for over 100 years.

Damiana has been exploited for its therapeutic benefits throughout human history, including applications by the Maya to treat loss of balance and dizziness. Other traditional uses of the herb include treatments for headaches, bedwetting, depression, nervous stomach and constipation, as well as enhancing and maintaining mental stamina.

Furthermore, Damiana is employed as an antidepressant, antiseptic, and diuretic. Not all of these natural formulations are based on scientific fact, but several of its uses have been verified to some degree. This is especially true concerning Damiana's potential to increase sex drive, elevate mood and aid with weight loss.

Below are 5 uses of damiana that secure this shrub as one of the most intriguing natural therapies worldwide.

Applications By The Maya


For the psychonauts among us, damiana may be of interest due to its potential hallucinogenic effects when consumed in high doses. When the dried leaves of damiana are smoked, it is said to bring about a state similar to that brought on by cannabis, but much more mild. Damiana can also be made into a tea that encourages similar adjustments in mood.


Compounds within damiana may contribute to anti-anxiolytic effects, according to a scientific paper published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Researchers examined the effects of a compound found within damiana named apigenin, determining how it affects rats during experiments designed to test for anxiety. The researchers found the experiment to confirm apigenin’s anti-anxiety actions, noting its sedative effects when taken in potent doses.


Damiana Supports Weight Loss

Damiana has been found to assist with weight loss by increasing the sensation of feeling full after only consuming a small meal. Weight loss is an important area of health for those who are overweight or obese, conditions that can pose greater risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, back pain and more. However, once weight has been lost, individuals can expect to see a wide range of benefits such as better quality sleep, increased hormonal balance, improved libido and less joint pain to name a few.

Damiana may serve as a herbal ally for those looking to lose weight, as identified in a paper titled “Weight loss and delayed gastric emptying following a South American herbal preparation in overweight patients.”

Researchers found that a herbal preparation containing Damiana significantly delayed gastric emptying times and reduced the time it took for subjects to feel full. The authors note that the herbal preparation induced significant weight loss over a period of 45 days in overweight patients.


Increases Libido

Most of the science revolving around damiana concerns its ability to augment sexual desire and improve various facets of sexual health. One area in which Damiana is believed to promote sexual health is in treating vaginal dryness.

One cause of this condition stems from a lack of arousal before sexual intercourse and can include symptoms such as reduced sex drive, discomfort during sex and difficulty getting aroused and reaching orgasm. It is easy to see how this condition could be problematic to women, negatively impacting one’s sex life. Fortunately, Damiana may be able to help in this area.

A scientific paper published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy featured a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that explores the administration of a supplement containing Damiana on female sexual function.

The study included 77 females over the age of 21 that had an interest in enhancing their sexual function. 43 women in the group received a placebo, whereas the remaining 34 received a supplement containing various extracts, including damiana.

Interestingly, 74 percent of the group who received the supplement reported improved satisfaction in their overall sex life. The authors of the paper state that notable improvements were seen in the areas of sexual desire, reduction of vaginal dryness, the frequency of sexual intercourse and orgasm, as well as clitoral sensation. On top of all of this, no serious side effects were discovered during the study. As well as reducing vaginal dryness, these findings also suggest that Damiana may encourage female orgasm.


Herbal Viagra

Viagra is a popular drug used by men who have difficulty achieving and sustaining an erection during sexual intercourse. This drug combats erectile dysfunction and impotence by increasing blood flow to the penis. However, there is a downside to this sexual performance pharmaceutical for it is accompanied by a host of side effects, including dizziness, upset stomach, abnormal vision and headache.

Damiana may serve as a herbal replacement for Viagra, though it may be even more effective and contain less adverse side effects. Research from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina discovered that Damiana acts in much the same way as Viagra. It was found that Damiana can improve male sexual dysfunction by helping to relax the walls of the arteries within the penis. This allows blood flow to the penis to increase, resulting in an erection. Damiana was found to relax the arteries by a massive 90 percent, whereas Viagra only achieved relaxation of 46 percent.


Damiana Herb

Impotence is a condition that frequently inhibits a man's ability to achieve and sustain erections, clearly a factor that can reduce the quality of one's sex life. Impotence has a variety of triggers, such as medication, neurological disorders, endocrine disorders, cardiac-related conditions, lifestyle factors and emotional disorders. Adding to the studies citing Damiana's potential as “natural Viagra,” further research exploits its use in combating impotence.

A scientific paper titled “Stimulating property of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata extracts on the sexual behaviour or male rats” observed the effects of Damiana on sexually sluggish and sexually impotent male rats. The research found that extracts of Damiana were effective in improving the copulatory performance of the subjects. The study posits that these findings indicate a further potential of Damiana reducing impotence in human males. The authors of the paper conclude that “These results seem to support the folk reputation of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata as sexual stimulants.”


Remaining in the domain of sexual performance and health, damiana may assist women with menopausal symptoms and help them to maintain sex drive during this experience. In addition to symptoms, such as hot flushes, weight gain and low mood, menopause can also result in decreased sex drive. However, damiana may be part of the solution to this issue.

A scientific study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy investigated the effects of Damiana during menopause. The study included 108 women ranging from age 22 to 73, each reporting a lack of sexual desire. The group was comprised of women of differing menopausal status including premenopausal, perimenopausal and postmenopausal.

Researchers gave participants a supplement containing various herbs and substances, including Damiana. After 4 weeks of consumption, the group of premenopausal women reported significant improvements in sexual desire, sexual satisfaction and overall sex life. Perimenopausal women experienced similar changes, with the biggest improvements occurring in the frequency of sexual intercourse, satisfaction with sexual relationships and vaginal dryness. Finally, postmenopausal women showed the largest improvement in sexual desire.


Fight Stomach Ulcers

Damiana may be effective in treating peptic ulcers, sores that develop on the lining of the stomach, possibly caused by inflammation or bacterial infection. A paper published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology concluded that Damiana may possess anti-ulcer activity due to certain mechanisms caused by a compound within the herb called arbutin.


  Luke Sumpter  

Written by: Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter is a journalist based in the United Kingdom, specialising in health, alternative medicine, herbs and psychedelic healing. He has written for outlets such as, Medical Daily and The Mind Unleashed, covering these and other areas.

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