Damiana - Turnera diffusa

Damiana

Turnera diffusa

Today, herbalists recommend Damiana to improve digestion, modulate hormonal activity, and revive the kidneys.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Damiana aphrodisiaca, Turnera aphrodisiaca, Old Woman’s Broom, Mexican Holly
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves and Flowers
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About Damiana

Damiana is a wild deciduous shrub, about 6 feet tall, with serrated leaves and vibrant yellow flowers. It fervently occurs in North-Eastern Brazil, Texas, Mexico, Mesoamerica, and the Caribbean. It is traditionally used as an aphrodisiac, tonic, and antidiabetic. 


The alcoholic extracts of Damiana and tequila are allegedly used as love potions. It has been tested to increase sexual functions in both genders. It contains flavanone pinocembrin which serves as an aromatase inhibitor to increase the levels of testosterone and improve the libido. On the other hand, a nor-sesquiterpene, namely teuhetenone A, was found to be an active principle for lowering blood sugar levels. Damiana also contains arbutin and apigenin which have been found to possess cytotoxic effects against breast cancer. It also imparts antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, antibacterial, antimycobacterial, antispasmodic, antiobesity, adaptogenic, hepatoprotective, and gastroprotective properties.

Damiana is a key ingredient in various Mexican liqueurs, especially margaritas. It was also initially an ingredient of importance in ‘Pemberton’s French Wine Coca’ but after 1886 it was omitted.

Today, herbalists recommend Damiana to improve digestion, modulate hormonal activity, and revive the kidneys. It helps treat genito-urinary tract irregularities, depression, anxiety, nervous exhaustion, sexual debility, prostate issues, premature ejaculation, excessive vaginal discharge, menopausal symptoms, dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual bleeding), and so much more.

 

Growing

The most feasible time to start the cultivation of damiana seeds falls from February to April. It is best to initiate the process indoors in a climate-controlled space. Use dirt-rich soil or potting mix with mineral parts. Sow the seeds at least 1/2 inch deep and cover the surface with plastic wrap/lid. Place the pot in a warm place and wait till the germination begins. 

Keep the pot in a warm space that receives plenty of light but avoid exposing it to direct sunlight when they are in the amateur seedling stage. Give them plenty of water but try not to keep the soil soggy. Water whenever the first 3 cm of the soil feels dry to touch.

Damiana seeds take 7 to 28 days to germinate. After sprouting and passing the tender seedling stage, it gives away beautifully serrated foliage that holds massive medicinal benefits.

It starts producing exuberant yellow flowers in early July and continues till late September, during which they get pollinated to transform into delicious fruits that taste like figs. They bear seeds that account for the perpetuation of the life cycle of damiana.

 

 

Harvesting

Harvest your Damiana after two years of uninterrupted cultivation, preferably before cold temperatures, in June, and prior to the arrival of November.

The aerial parts of the Damiana plant are harvested with the sickle blade.

Dry the damiana leaves in a well-ventilated space, away from the direct sunlight, and store them in an airtight container for later usage.

 

Usage

Damiana has proposed myriads of fringe benefits, especially to women and men for better reproductive functionality. It is available in various patent medicine forms or you can doctor your own with damiana leaves in hand.

  • Tincture - Top the dried damiana leaves with alcohol and macerate for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain away the plant material and bottle up the liquid tincture in an airtight container.
  • Tea - Soak the dried damiana leaves in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes and enjoy damiana tea.
  • Syrup - Simmer dried Damiana leaves in sugar solution for 5 to 10 minutes and strain away the plant material to yield damiana syrup. 
  • Infused oil - Infuse dried damiana leaves in olive oil (you can optionally add jasmine and lavender too) for 2 to 3 weeks on a sunny windowsill in a clear glass bottle. Strain away the plant material to yield pure damiana-infused oil.