Habitat & Cultivation : Damiana, indigenous to the Gulf of Mexico, southern California, the northern Caribbean Islands, and Namibia, is also intentionally cultivated in these regions. The cultivation process involves growing Damiana from seed during the spring, with a preference for hot and humid climates. Harvesting is typically carried out during the summer when the herb is in full flower.
- Volatile oil (about 0.5-1%), including caryophylene, thymol and cadinene
- Hydroquinones (arbutin)
- Nerve tonic
- Mild stimulant
- Mild antidepressant
- Mild laxative and diuretic
- In the inaugural investigation on the aphrodisiac properties of damiana, conducted in 1999, male rats exhibiting low sexual activity demonstrated increased sexual activity upon receiving damiana extract. While findings in animals may not be directly extrapolated to humans, this aligns with traditional perspectives on the herb. Recent research has also indicated that damiana may contribute to preventing elevated blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.
Traditional & Current Uses
- Tonic : Damiana is recognized as a tonic and revitalizer for the nervous system, traditionally esteemed for its aphrodisiac properties. The tonic effects of damiana can be attributed, in part, to the presence of thymol, a constituent known for its antiseptic and tonic qualities.
- Antidepressant : Technically, damiana is classified as a thymoleptic, possessing a stimulating action on both the body and mind. It is administered to individuals experiencing mild to moderate depression or nervous exhaustion. The stimulating and restorative characteristics of damiana render it valuable in situations where anxiety and depression coexist.
- Sexual restorative : Damiana has traditionally been perceived as a herb primarily beneficial for men due to its reputed testosteronic activity. It is believed to be helpful in addressing issues like premature ejaculation and impotence. However, it should be noted that damiana is considered beneficial for both men and women, as it is believed to have restorative effects on the reproductive organs of both sexes.
- Gynecological problems : Damiana is frequently administered for conditions such as painful and delayed menstrual periods. Moreover, it is specifically utilized to address headaches associated with menstruation.
- Urinary antiseptic : Functioning as a diuretic and urinary antiseptic, damiana proves beneficial in the treatment of urinary infections like cystitis and urethritis. This effect is attributed in part to the presence of arbutin, a constituent that undergoes conversion into hydroquinone within the urinary tubules. Hydroquinone is recognized for its potent urinary antiseptic properties. Notably, this constituent is also found in various other plants, with uva-ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) being a notable example.
- Laxative : Damiana exhibits mild laxative properties, making it useful in addressing constipation associated with inadequate bowel muscle tone.