There’s evidence that damiana herb has a very long history of use as a natural aphrodisiac and relaxant in Central and South America, dating back to the time of the ancient Aztecs, Mayans and Guaycura who lived in modern-day Mexico.
What does damiana do, and what makes it beneficial? Some people compare damiana to cannabis due to its relaxing and simultaneously stimulating effects.
It contains a number of active ingredients that can positively impact the functions of the endocrine and nervous systems. In herbal medicine, damiana is used to both relax the body and improve energy levels at the same time. According to Mountain Rose Herbs, “The origin of the common name damiana is from the Greek daman or damia meaning ‘to tame or subdue.'”
Benefits associated with damiana herb (or damiana leaf, as it’s sometimes called) include:
- Increasing sexual desire and performance, while decreasing impotence
- Treating constipation
- Reducing depression, nervousness, and anxiety
- Fighting PMS symptoms, muscle aches, insomnia, headaches, and pain
- Improving digestive health and relieving constipation
- Fighting other conditions, including anemia, diabetes, respiratory infections, fungal diseases, and skin disorders
Damiana (Turnera diffusa and Turnera aphrodisiaca) is a medicinal plant that is native to the southern United States (especially Texas), Central America and South America. This herb is technically a small shrub that produces yellow flowers. It’s a member of the plant family called Turneraceae and goes by many names around the world, such as Mexican holly, damiana aphrodisiaca, damiane, feuille de damiana and herba de la pastora.
The leaf and stem of the Turnera diffusa plant have historically either been used to make herbal teas and tinctures that have many beneficial qualities. According to studies, active components that have been identified in damiana herb include volatile/essential oils (containing cineol, cymol, pinene), flavonoid antioxidants, caffeine, pinocembrin, cacetin, gonzalitosin, arbutin, tannin, thymol and damianin.
1. Mood Enhancement and Stress Reduction
A common use of damiana herb is managing symptoms of depression, anxiety, nervousness, lethargy and insomnia. It is considered to be an adaptogen herb by some researchers since it can help build the body’s defenses against stress.
Damiana may help you feel more relaxed, alleviate physical symptoms tied to stress (like muscle tension or headaches) and allow you to fall asleep more easily. It is said to help improve “overall wellness” by reducing many physical symptoms, such as pain and fatigue, and improving digestion, energy, concentration and sexual desire.
It has been said that it can Help Increase Libido/Sex Drive
Damiana has historically been known as a natural aphrodisiac because it’s said to improve sexual arousal and blood flow to the genital area. It’s believed that caffeine, arbutine and flavonoids are the main active compounds found in damiana that help with sexual function. It can help both men and women when it comes to improving libido, plus it may help reduce impotence. Another reason that damiana is considered to have aphrodisiac qualities is because it can help improve energy levels, fight chronic fatigue, reduce the effects of stress (one of the biggest killers of sex drive) and improve stamina.
According to a study published in the Journal of Enthopharamacology referenced above, not only does damiana have anti-obesity effects, but it also possesses antidiabetic, antioxidant, adapatogenic, antispasmodic and gastroprotective activities that may help reduce the risk for many chronic diseases. In certain animal studies, T. diffusa has been shown to have antioxidant properties that may prevent kidney damageand diabetes induced by mitochondrial oxidative stress.
It may Fight Infections
A variety of species of Turnera plantsare widely used in folk medicine for treating different types of inflammatory diseases and infections. Today, research tells us that plants in the Turneraceae family can serve as a source of plant-derived natural compounds that have antibiotic resistance-modifying activity.
Damiana has been shown to act as a natural anti-inflammatory agent, expectorant (it helps to open up the airways and stop coughs) and immunomodulator. There’s evidence that T. diffusa can be used to treat otitis (ear aches/ear infections) and nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys).
Pinocembrin is one of the primary flavonoids isolated from damiana leaf. Pinocembrin activities have been well-researched and include antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer activities. For centuries, plants containing pinocembrain and flavanoids (both found in damiana) have been used to fight bacterial infections of the respiratory, reproductive and digestive systems — including those caused by bacterial strains such as gonorrhoeae, E. coli, P. aeruginosa, B. subtilis, S. aureus, S. lentus and K. pneumoniae.
Can Help Lower Pain (Headaches, Stomach Aches, PMS, Etc.)
Women who suffer from severe PMS symptoms, such as cramps and mood swings, may benefit from using damiana leaf throughout their menstrual cycles. Damiana may also help alleviate headaches, muscle aches and stomach pains. Since it has relaxant and digestive stimulating effects, a historical use of damiana was drinking it to help release the muscles in the GI tract in order to reduce constipation, bloating and abdominal pain.
Hydrangea is a Native American decidious shrub that can grow 5 to 10 feet tall. It grows in the wild along streams, hills, and woodlands and is a popular ornamental. The leaves are opposite, mostly ovate, pointed, and toothed. The numerous, small, beautiful flowers are borne on cymes and are usually white but sometimes pink or purple, depending on soil alkalinity. Most hydrangeas do best in rich, moist soil and prefer full sun, though they will tolerate partial shade.
Root (dried), rhizome (dried)
Cathartic, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, lithotriptic, sialagogue, stomachic, tonic
Hydrangea was used widely by the Cherokee Indians and, later, European settlers to treat stones in the urinary tract. It is known to help remove uric acid accumulations from the body, cleanse the kidneys, and soften deposits. It aids in the passage of stones and helps prevent their reoccurrence. It also deters infection, soothes inflammation, and strengthens the capillaries. Hydrangea is used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis, arthritis, bladder stones, backache due to kidney problems, capillary fragility, cystitis, dropsy, dysuria, gout, kidney stones, nephritis, prostatitis, urethritis, and urinary tract infection. Topically, hydrangea can be used as a compress or poultice to treat burns, sprains, tumors, and wounds.
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