First discovered by the Mayan and Aztec civilization in Latin America, Damiana herb is a small shrub with aromatic leaves. The natives used it during ceremonies to ease depression and anxiety. It was also used in Latin America to add flavor to tea.
The medicinal part of this plant are the stem and the leaves which can either be dried or used fresh. Apart from the medicinal properties of this herb, it also offers an aromatic fragrance. Damiana leaves are available in different forms including loose dried leaves, powder, tea, tablets, capsules and incense form.
Though not many studies have been conducted on this herb, it is understood to contain some chemicals that affect the nervous system and the brain. Apart from essential and volatile oil, Damiana contains alpha copaene, tannins, albuminoids, beta sitosterol, alpha pinene, flavonoids, glycosides, albuminoids, proteins, alkaloids, carbohydrates, steroids, triacontane glycosides and many more.
Health Benefits of Damiana
The Native Americans use Damiana for the following properties; anti-septic, anti-anxiety, stringent, stimulant, anti-spasmodic and laxative.
- As an Aphrodisiac
The leaves of this herb are used as an aphrodisiac. Research shows that damiana helps to naturally enhance human sexual response. Therefore, it can be used to treat erectile dysfunction as it enhances the flow of blood to the sexual organs in both men and women. Indirectly, this herb also helps to improve the energy level and mood and also reduce exhaustion. In further studies, Damiana, also leads to an increased sperm count in men as well as improve the quality of eggs in female. In females it is also used to treat anorgasmia. In order to treat impotency, this herb was traditionally taken just before bed time.
- For female hormonal issues
Damiana is used to treat hormonal imbalance issues in women as well as reduce the symptoms associated with menstruation and menopause, it helps to relieve female depression, anxiety, headaches and mood swings during menstruation. As mentioned above, this herb also enhances the quality of female eggs. Further studies have also stated that Damiana has shown pro-progesterone and anti-estrogenic activities in female.
- For a strong nervous system
Damiana helps to elevate one’s overall energy levels and mood as well as reduce depression in both men and women. This herb provides an overall feeling of well-being and it is used to treat CNS disorders.
Another major benefit of damiana herb is in treating diabetes naturally. This herb helps to lower blood sugar levels due to its hypoglycemic properties.
- Digestive process
Damiana herb is also used to treat a few digestion disorders like constipation due to its laxative properties. It also helps to solve gastrointestinal disorders due to its anti-bacterial properties.
Herbal tea or infusion is made using dried Damiana leaves. An effective dosage level of the infusion is a cup of the liquid take 3 times. When taken in capsules form, Damiana supplement, 4 grams of the capsules should be taken daily.
Side effects and precaution
There are no known severe side effects if taking Damiana but high doses taken for a long time leads to certain mild side effects including mood swings, hormonal changes in women, ingestion and nausea
Pregnant or lactating mothers as well as anemic patients should avoid this herb as it has abortive property and it absorbs iron.