Part Used: Dried leaf & flower (Baja, Mexico)
Damiana (Turnera aphrodisiaca) is a small shrub found in Texas, California, Mexico, and South America. It grows up to 2m high, with many-branched smooth, straight yellow or reddish-brown stems. The small leaves are alternate or in bunch and have toothed margins; their upper surface is pale green, the underside covered with pale hairs. They have a strong aroma reminiscent of chamomile. Damiana has been primarily used in depression and impotence/infertility (male). It is also used to regulate the female cycles of the reproductive system. It may be used to stimulate the sexual appetite. It is good for treating urinary problems and nervousness, as well as hypertension.
Traditionally, Damiana was used as a aphrodisiac of the Maya people in Central America. It continues to be considered valuable as an aphrodisiac and general tonic, and its stimulant tonic action makes it a valuable remedy for those suffering from mild depression. The whole plant is a bitter, pungent, warming herb with a fig-like flavour. Its use improves the digestion, lifts the spirits, calms the nerves, regulates hormonal activity, stimulates the genito-urinary tract and rejuvenates kidney energy. It is used internally to treat nervous exhaustion, anxiety, depression, debility in convalescence, impotence, premature ejaculation, prostate complaints, urinary infections, frigidity, vaginal discharge, painful menstruation, menopausal problems, poor appetite and digestion, and atonic constipation. Damiana is a valuable strengthening remedy for the nervous system. In particular, it has a stimulating and enhancing action on those functions related to the male reproductive system, especially where there is sexual inadequacy with a strong psychological or emotional element. The alkaloids are thought to have a testosteronal effect. It is of benefit in any debilitated condition of the central nervous system from anxiety and depression to neuralgia; and is used to contain genital herpes. Although considered to be a 'male' herb, it is not contraindicated for women with debilitated conditions.
Purple Sage Botanicals. http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/damiana.htm
Plants for a Future. http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Turnera+diffusa+aphrodisiaca&CAN=COMIND