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Damiana Leaf Herb Effects

Damiana Herb & Damiana Leaves Extract

Damiana is also known as Turnera Diffusa of the Turneraceae family, which is a herb native to Central America and South America. The Damiana leaves are traditionally made into a Damiana tea by the native people of Central America for its aphrodisiac benefits. It has also been used to treat headaches, depression, constipation, and physical weakness. Damiana is not recommended for individuals who are diabetic, or have conditions such as schizophrenia, alzheimer's, or parkinson's disease.

Damiana is a small aromatic shrub grown in South America. There are studies that support the use of Damiana as an aphrodisiac in folk medicine. It is used as an aphrodisiac for both sexes and helps with impotence and sterility associated with anxiety. There are also some evidence to suggest that Damiana may have weight loss applications. It is commonly used in weight loss formulas containing Yerba Mate, Guarana, and Damiana.

Damiana Extract Benefits

Studies performed on common weight loss ingredient mixtures including Yerba Mate, Guarana, Damiana, and green tea have consistently found a positive correlation between using these ingredients and achieving weight loss.

Weight loss and delayed gastric emptying following a South American herbal preparation in overweight patients.
Andersen T, Fogh J.
Department of Ultrasound, Medical Center Charlottenlund, Trunnevangen 4A, DK 2920, Charlottenlund, Denmark.

This study was designed to determine the effects of a herbal preparation containing Yerba Maté, Guarana, and Damiana (YGD) on weight loss and gastric emptying. Gastric emptying was observed using ultrasound scanning in seven healthy volunteers following YGD and placebo capsules taken with 420 mL apple juice. Body weight was observed before and after 10 days of treatment with three YGD or placebo capsules for 10 days in 44 healthy overweight patients. Forty-seven healthy overweight patients entered a double-blind placebo-controlled parallel trial of three capsules of YGD capsules before each main meal for 45 days compared with three placebo capsules on body weight. Body weight was monitored in 22 patients who continued the YGD treatment for 12 months.

The study found that the Guarana herbal mixture prolonged gastric emptying time compared to the placebo group. They also recorded body weight reduction of 0.8kg for the YGD group compared to 0.3kg for the placebo group for the 10 day trial. For the 45 day trial, they found even greater weight loss where the YGD group lost on average 5.1kg compared to the 0.3kg of the placebo group. They concluded that the mixture of Yerba Mate, Guarana, and Damiana mixture capsules significantly delayed gastric emptying, reduced the time to perceived gastric fullness and induced significant weight loss over 45 days in overweight patients. [1]

Besides having some potential weight loss applications, one of the more common uses for Damiana is using it as an aphrodisiac in folk medicine. Mexican margarita folklore claims that Damiana Liqueur was used to make the very first margarita. There are studies that have found evidence supporting the use of Damiana to treat sexual dysfunction, improve sexual performance, and improve overall satisfaction with sex life.

A Mexican study was performed to determine the effects of Damiana for helping sexual behavior recovery in sexually inhibited subjects. Sexually exhausted male rats were treated with a combination of Turnera Diffusa and Yohimbine. The results of this study found that the treatment significantly increased the percentage of males achieving one ejaculatory series and resuming a second one. Also, it found that Damiana significantly reduced the post-ejaculatory interval. These results support the use of Damiana as an aphrodisiac in folk medicine, and also its potential therapeutic effects for sexual dysfunction. [2]

Another Italian study also using rats treated the subjects with different amounts of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata fluid extracts. Their study found that treatment with this increased the percentage of rats achieving ejaculation, and like the above study, also significantly reduced post ejaculatory interval - providing evidence that Damiana works well as a sexual stimulant and aphrodisiac. [3]

Both of these two studies above are done using lab rats, but how about testing the effects of Damiana on human subjects? Studies involving human subjects have also found beneficial Damiana effects for sexual enhancement and improvement. In a study conducted at the University of Hawaii, the sexual effects of Damiana was studied. In this study, 77 female participants over the age of 21 received either a placebo or a supplement named ArginMax for Women containing extracts of ginseng, ginkgo, and damiana, L-arginine, multivitamins, and minerals. After 4 weeks of supplementation, 73.5% of the ArginMax group reported improved satisfaction with sex life while just 37.2% of the placebo group reported improved satisfaction. The ArginMax group also reported improvements in "sexual desire, reduction of vaginal dryness, frequency of sexual intercourse and orgasm, and clitoral sensation. No significant side effects were noted." [4]

Damiana Side Effects and Benefits

We've covered some of the benefits of Damiana such as weight loss benefits and its benefits as an aphrodisiac and sexual enhancer with supporting studies. The side effects of Damiana is a little less well known without much study looking into the long term effects of Damiana, if any. Damiana is generally safe with few side effects. It should not be used by pregnant women or by women who are breast-feeding. It is not recommended for individuals who are diabetic, or have conditions such as schizophrenia, alzheimer's, or parkinson's disease.




1. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001 Jun;14(3):243-50
Weight loss and delayed gastric emptying following a South American herbal preparation in overweight patients.
Andersen T, Fogh J.

2. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jun 25;123(3):423-9. Epub 2009 Mar 31.
Turnera diffusa Wild (Turneraceae) recovers sexual behavior in sexually exhausted males.
Estrada-Reyes R, Ortiz-López P, Gutiérrez-Ortíz J, Martínez-Mota L.

3. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1999 Mar;143(1):15-9.
Stimulating property of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata extracts on the sexual-behavior of male rats.
Arletti R, Benelli A, Cavazzuti E, Scarpetta G, Bertolini A.

4. J Sex Marital Ther. 2001 Oct-Dec;27(5):541-9.
A double-blind placebo-controlled study of ArginMax, a nutritional supplement for enhancement of female sexual function.
Ito TY, Trant AS, Polan ML.


Feb 2010