Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is a small, woody shrub of the passion flower family native to the Southern United States, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean. Fragrant yellow 5-petaled flowers appear from early to late summer, followed by edible fruits that taste similar to figs. The entire plant is aromatic and is traditionally used to flavor liquor and has a long history of medical use by the Maya who called it mizibcoc. It is most well known for its aphrodisiac qualities.
Damiana Turnera diffusa is sometimes listed as T. aphrodisiaca or T. microphylla and is often confused with yellow alder Turnera ulmifolia, sometimes called false Damiana, which is similar in appearance but has different energetic and chemical properties.
Damiana may also be referenced by the common names herba de la pastora, Mexican damiana, old woman’s broom, Mexican holly, oreganello and rosemary (Not to be confused with the other Rosemary.)
Damiana, a perennial in zones 9-11 is hardy down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Damiana likes rich soil, but isn’t too picky. It is drought tolerant. Damiana can be grown in a large pot indoors in areas with winters. In areas where it can be grown outdoors, it’s a nice shrub that grows 3-6 feet tall.
Damiana for Healing
Damiana is sometimes used as an apoptogenic tonic. It improves mood, relieves stress and anxiety and general relaxation. It is also said to increase overall blood flow.
Inhaling the steam from Damiana steeped in boiling water is said to ease headaches.
Damiana has a reputation as an aphrodisiac, though its effect is rather subdued. Rather than just making you horny, Damiana increases general blood flow, mood and focus, which can improve the sexual experience for those who have trouble relaxing and enjoying sexual encounters due to the distraction of stress in other areas of their lives. It is also said to intensify orgasms.
Damiana is said to improve mood swings and to ease hormonal changes, especially those related to menstruation and menopause.
Damiana is said to help with weight loss.
Some studies with Damiana have shown promise in the treatment of breast cancer.
Damiana for Magick
Damiana is a useful tea or smoke before ritual, especially where an altered states of consciousness is be involved, and aids with meditation and divination. It is also a good addition to ritual incense. It is also wonderfully helpful in sex magick spells.
Damiana can be smoked or drunk in a tea to aid with lucid dreaming. While some also say that Damiana helps them sleep, others may find that damiana actually interferes with sleep, so combine it with sleep aid herbs, such as passionflower and lavender, but try it by itself before experimenting.
Damiana can be added to loves spells and philters, keeping its nature in mind. It is best used between lovers who are simply looking to spice things up, to improve their sexual relationship and to overcome difficulties resulting from stress in other areas of their lives. Damiana is especially fun shared in massage oil form, though I feel compelled to warn you against applying the oil directly to the genitals.
Damiana Culinary Uses
Damiana liquor is made from the leaves and stems of this plant. The fruit is edible.
Damiana is a psychotropic drug. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in “spice” and other marijuana substitutes- Many of these blends are very dangerous. Damiana is illegal in Louisiana.
Possible side effects include indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and tinnitus. Lower your dose or stop taking if you experience these. If you experience hallucinations while using damiana, you should seek medical attention.
Damiana may interfere with the absorption of dietary iron.
Damiana may cause swings in blood sugar and should be avoided by people with issues in this area.
High doses of Damiana may be toxic.
It should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding and should not be given to children.
People with diabetes, urinary tract issues, or liver disease should avoid damiana.