Damiana’s health benefits are wide-reaching and well-known, but most are known as an aphrodisiac. This plant has a long history of use by indigenous tribes in Mexico. It is primarily known to promote male reproductive health, however, it is also beneficial for women. Herbal supplements, which are derived from the leaves of medicinal plants, are frequently sought after online as aphrodisiacs and sought for sexual enhancement. It’s important to note that it can be addictive and may make you feel intoxicated, making it a potential substitute for marijuana. Here, let’s find out if damiana is good for you and also safe for consumption.
What is Damiana?
Damiana, scientifically known as Tour spread, is a wild shrub with bright yellow flowers and fragrant leaves. Damiana thrives in the regions of Mexico, the West Indies and Central America. It gives off a spicy aroma like chamomile, due to the presence of aromatic compounds in it.
Beyond its visual and olfactory appeal, damiana has earned its place as an ingredient in traditional Mexican drinks and as a source of medicine, mainly using its leaves and stems. It is often a means of inducing gentle euphoria and is a well-known aphrodisiac, hence its name Turnera’s aphrodisiac.
Apart from these interesting applications, Damiana is also used to reduce stomach-related discomfort, loss of balance and dizziness. However, it should be noted that there is insufficient evidence to support this use.
is Damiana Health Benefits?
The damiana plant was first used by the natives of the Mexican region. The leaves are often consumed to take advantage of damiana’s health benefits. It is said that the leaves work differently on men and women.
Food bioactivity can have a significant impact on several health conditions, and this is especially true when considering damiana products. In men, it is believed to increase sexual arousal and stamina. And in women it functions to regulate menstruation and reduce menopausal symptoms. Let’s explore further the potential benefits of damiana.
top 5 Damiana Health Benefits
1. Aphrodisiac properties
Throughout history and culture, ingredients such as oysters and asparagus have been used as aphrodisiacs and damiana is also on the list (1). It is believed that damiana can help achieve and maintain erections, increase sexual sensitivity, and overall sexual pleasure in men (1), (2).
Keep in mind that most such herbal remedies do not have federal regulation in the United States. Thus, caution is advised.
2. Women’s Sexual Health
In terms of women’s reproductive health, damiana has its own impact. It has been traditionally used as an emmenagogue to stimulate blood circulation and contractions to induce periods (3). It is also used during menopause because of its potential to increase testosterone and decrease estrogen, and is therefore recommended for women with hormonal imbalances (2). Thereby preventing unwanted estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women.
3. Digestive Health
With regards to digestive health, damiana facilitates the breakdown of fats and sugars in the digestive system, by triggering bile and gastric juices (4). Thus increasing the absorption of nutrients. It further supports the cleansing of the digestive tract, eliminating harmful chemicals and toxins that hinder digestion. Damiana can even be used to treat dyspepsia or indigestion by slowing down the digestive process (5).
Many people believe that damiana works as a laxative to help constipation, although there is no solid scientific evidence. In terms of digestion, damiana’s ability to relieve constipation is not well supported. However, it appears to have potential as an anti-ulcer agent. In an animal study, a compound called arbutin in damiana protected the stomach lining from substances that cause ulcers (6).
4. Relax Your Mind
Damiana contains thymol, the active compound responsible for its stimulating and renewing effect on the mind and body. It also has a flavone called apigenin that reduces anxiety and helps people with depression (5).
Damiana is often recommended by herbalists for anxiety, nervous exhaustion, and moderate to mild depression. Its power to combat mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and even the frequent mood swings triggered by continued stress makes it a great choice for boosting your healthy energy levels.
In the past, it was used to help headaches because of its calming effect. While there isn’t much hard evidence in the scientific literature, some say it might help. However, it should be noted that in studies with rats, damiana showed a pain relief effect similar to that of morphine (5).
5. Potential Weight Loss
When it comes to the health benefits of damiana, its appetite-suppressing properties are a major concern. A study featuring a combination of guarana, yerba maté, and damiana showed that the mixture slowed stomach emptying and led to weight loss (7). Another trial with this mixture especially reduced appetite (8). While these results are encouraging, they emerged from a multi-herb formula, making it difficult to pinpoint damiana’s effects. This highlights the need for specific clinical research into damiana’s individual effects, especially since current studies have mostly involved animals or cells.
Are There Any Side Effects of Damiana?
Damiana’s benefits and side effects are still the subject of ongoing research. The potential benefits of damiana herb are due to the presence of complex plant compounds in it. It contains a rich blend of 22 flavonoids, phenolics, cyanogenic glycosides, fatty acids, caffeine, and even more (9). Interestingly, it has been incorporated into certain herbal formulas with the intention of replicating the psychedelic effects of cannabis, but rest assured, damiana is completely legal throughout the United States.
Today, you can easily find dried damiana leaves in many forms: tea bags, capsules, and even tinctures – either with or without alcohol. Damiana leaves can be smoked for narcotic effects, much like marijuana. However, this practice is generally discouraged because of the potential risks involved (10).
Dosage – Dosage can vary, so always read your product label for specifics. As a general rule, it is recommended to take 2 to 4 grams of dried damiana in tea or capsule form with food, three times daily. Although experiences vary, it should be noted that doses as high as 200 grams have caused hallucinations.
In addition, the possible side effects of damiana at higher doses include
- Sometimes even convulsions (reported after consuming 200 grams of damiana extract).
- In addition, damiana can also have an impact on blood sugar levels.
Who should not consume damiana?
It is especially important to highlight that pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as those dealing with liver problems, should avoid damiana. High doses of Damiana have been linked to hallucinations. If you experience hallucinations while taking damiana, stay calm and seek medical attention immediately.
If you have diabetes, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or breast cancer, it is advisable to avoid damiana. Usually, the hypoglycemic effect of damiana may not be compatible with the antihyperglycemic effect of insulin drugs.
Also, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider before introducing damiana or other supplements if you are on your usual medication. Because damiana can affect blood sugar, be careful if you are taking diabetes medications.
While studies on damiana’s health benefits are limited, this unique herb contains a variety of plant compounds that have caught our attention for its potential benefits. From sexual health to mood enhancement and digestion, the benefits are quite compelling. However, it is a powerful thing, affecting everyone differently. If you are pregnant, nursing, dealing with health issues, or on medication, talk to your doctor before trying damiana. It’s a reminder that natural remedies work, but finding the right balance and knowing what’s safe for you is key to overall well-being.
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