Healthy Beginnings

Damiana

The leaves of damiana, a relatively small shrub that produces small, aromatic flowers, have been used in the U.S. since 1874 as an aphrodisiac and “to improve the sexual ability of the enfeebled and aged.”
Damiana is said to have an odor somewhat like chamomile. Native to Mexico and the southern U.S., it blossoms in early to late summer and is followed by fruits that taste similar to figs. The leaves have traditionally been made into a tea, which was used by native people of Central and South America for its aphrodisiac effects. Spanish missionaries first recorded that the Mexican Indians drank Damiana tea mixed with sugar for its ability to enhance lovemaking.
Today, the herb is conventionally made into a tea. In herbal medicine, it is used to treat conditions ranging from coughs to constipation to depression. As an herbal supplement, it is reputed to help with fibromyalgia, energy, emphysema, low estrogen, frigidity, hot flashes, impotency, infertility, menopause, Parkinson’s disease, PMS, inflammation of prostate, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and more dealing with reproductive organs in both males and females.
One study suggests that damiana may have plant compounds with effects similar to those of progesterone. Over 150 herbs were tested for their ability to bind with estrogen and progesterone receptors in breast cancer cells and found that damiana was among the six highest progesterone-binding herbs.
Damiana is also used for asthma, anxiety and headache; however, there is no scientific evidence that it works specifically for these conditions.
Dosage
Typically, the herb is recommended with other herbs in a commercial preparation. Damiana can be found on its own in various forms including capsule, liquid extract and tea form. A typical dosage is a 400 mg capsule taken once or twice a day.
Safety and Precautions
Consult a health care practitioner before beginning a new supplemental regimen, and be sure to only ingest recommended doses – Damiana contains a glycoside compound called arbutin. In the urinary tract, arbutin is converted into a chemical called hydroquinone. In large amounts, hydroquinone can cause nausea, vomiting, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), convulsions, and eventually collapse and death.
The safety of damiana in children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with liver or kidney disease has not been established.
Make your own
Damiana Tea:
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. chamomile
1 Tbsp. damiana leaves
1 Tbsp. lemongrass
1 Tbsp. spearmint leaves
1/4 Tbsp. jasmine flowers
1/4 Tbsp. orange peel, grated
Combine herbs in two cups of water, and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain out herbs and serve hot.
References:
1. Murray, Michael ND & Pizzorno, Joseph MD. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 2nd ed. Prima Publishing, 1998.
2. http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/damiana.htm
3. http://coffeetea.about.com/od/herbaltearecipes/r/damiana.htm
4. http://foodgeeks.com/recipes/recipe/21371,damiana_margaritas.phtml

300-damianaThe leaves of damiana, a relatively small shrub that produces small, aromatic flowers, have been used in the U.S. since 1874 as an aphrodisiac and “to improve the sexual ability of the enfeebled and aged.”

Damiana is said to have an odor somewhat like chamomile. Native to Mexico and the southern U.S., it blossoms in early to late summer and is followed by fruits that taste similar to figs. The leaves have traditionally been made into a tea, which was used by native people of Central and South America for its aphrodisiac effects. Spanish missionaries first recorded that the Mexican Indians drank Damiana tea mixed with sugar for its ability to enhance lovemaking.

Today, the herb is conventionally made into a tea. In herbal medicine, it is used to treat conditions ranging from coughs to constipation to depression. As an herbal supplement, it is reputed to help with fibromyalgia, energy, emphysema, low estrogen, frigidity, hot flashes, impotency, infertility, menopause, Parkinson’s disease, PMS, inflammation of prostate, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and more dealing with reproductive organs in both males and females.

One study suggests that damiana may have plant compounds with effects similar to those of progesterone. Over 150 herbs were tested for their ability to bind with estrogen and progesterone receptors in breast cancer cells and found that damiana was among the six highest progesterone-binding herbs.

Damiana is also used for asthma, anxiety and headache; however, there is no scientific evidence that it works specifically for these conditions.

Dosage

Typically, the herb is recommended with other herbs in a commercial preparation. Damiana can be found on its own in various forms including capsule, liquid extract and tea form. A typical dosage is a 400 mg capsule taken once or twice a day.

Safety and Precautions

Consult a health care practitioner before beginning a new supplemental regimen, and be sure to only ingest recommended doses – Damiana contains a glycoside compound called arbutin. In the urinary tract, arbutin is converted into a chemical called hydroquinone. In large amounts, hydroquinone can cause nausea, vomiting, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), convulsions, and eventually collapse and death.

The safety of damiana in children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with liver or kidney disease has not been established.

Make your ownDamiana Tea:

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. chamomile

1 Tbsp. damiana leaves

1 Tbsp. lemongrass

1 Tbsp. spearmint leaves

1/4 Tbsp. jasmine flowers

1/4 Tbsp. orange peel, grated

Combine herbs in two cups of water, and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain out herbs and serve hot.

References:

1. Murray, Michael ND & Pizzorno, Joseph MD. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 2nd ed. Prima Publishing, 1998.

2. http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/damiana.htm

3. http://coffeetea.about.com/od/herbaltearecipes/r/damiana.htm

4. http://foodgeeks.com/recipes/recipe/21371,damiana_margaritas.phtml