Can be found in our Enhancer product.

Herbal Medicine Materia Medica: Damiana

David Hoffmann L. BSc (Hons), MNIMH ©


Turnera diffusa


Names: Turnera aphrodisiaca

Habitat: Southern USA, Mexico and parts of sub-tropical America andAfrica.

Collection: The leaves and stems are gathered at the time off lowering.

Part Used: Dried leaves and stems.


  • Volatile oil, containing thymol, x-copaene, [[beta]]- cadinene and calamene, l, 8-cineole, x- and [[beta]]-pinenes and calamenene
  • Flavonoids such as 5-hydroxy-7, 3, 4-trimethoxyflavone
  • The hydroquinone arbutin
  • Miscellaneous; a cyanogenetic glycoside, a bitter substance of undetermined structure called damianin, resin, tannin.


Actions: Nerve tonic, anti-depressant, urinary antiseptic, laxative.

Indications: Damiana is an excellent strengthening remedy for the nervous system. It has an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac. Whilst this may or may not be true, it has a definite tonic action on the central nervous and the hormonal system. As a useful anti-depressant, Damiana is considered to be a specific in cases of anxiety and depression where there is a sexual factor. It may be used to strengthen the male sexual system.

Ellingwood describes this herb thus: (please note that the language is that of Ellingwood, reflecting the time it was written) "A mild nerve tonic claimed to be valuable in the treatment of sexual impotence. Some of our physicians praise it highly for its influence in sexual neurasthenia, and it is said to correct frigidity in the female. It had long enjoyed a local reputation as a stimulant tonic of the sexual apparatus among the natives of Mexico, before it attracted the attention of the profession. Besides its peculiar action on the sexual appetite and function, it is a general tonic, somewhat cathartic and is slightly cholagogue. The midwives and women of loose morals of western Mexico also attribute emmenagogue properties to it.

"Dr. Reid uses Damiana in all conditions where a general tonic is needed, especially if there be enfeeblement of the central nervous system. He esteems it most highly, prescribing it constantly for this purpose. It is valuable in renal and cystic catarrh and in general irritation of the urinary passages, through its influence in soothing irritation of mucous membranes. This latter property renders it valuable in the treatment of respiratory disorders, especially those accompanied with profuse secretion.

"In terms of the action of this remedy in its influence upon the reproductive organs, Dr. Reid mentions dysmenorrhea, headache, at the menstrual epoch, bad complexion, rough or discolored patches on the skin with acne, especially of a severe type, depending upon uterine irritation. Eruption resembling eczema, from insufficient menstruation. Dr. Watkins gives as its further indications, delayed or suppressed menstruation in young girls, irregularity at the beginning of menstruation, amenorrhoea in very young girls. It will certainly allay sensitiveness of the sympathetic nervous system to irritations caused by disorders of the womb and ovaries. The remedy must be given in full doses, to accomplish these results. From 5 to 10 grains of the extract is necessary 3 or 4 times a day, and persisted in."

Ellingwood gives these specific indications: sexual impotence, sexual neurasthenia, frigidity, renal catarrh, respiratory disorders, dysmenorrhoea, headache at the menstrual epoch, bad complexion, delayed or suppressed menstruation, amenorrhoea.

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