For Patients & Caregivers
How It Works
There is limited evidence of Damiana’s stimulant effects. It has not been shown to treat cancer in humans.
Damiana is a wild shrub found in Mexico, Central America and parts of South America. It is used in traditional medicine as a diuretic, laxative, stimulant, aphrodisiac, and also to treat diabetes and venereal diseases. Animal studies show that damiana can reduce anxiety and affect sexual behavior but there are no human data. Damiana has also not been studied in cancer patients.
Damiana may affect blood sugar level based on animal studies.
Traditional use is widespread. A small study in women with sexual dysfunction showed that ArginMax, which contains damiana, improved sexual function.
Data from studies done on mice show that damiana reduced anxiety but human studies are lacking.
There are no data to substantiate this use.
No scientific evidence supports this use.
Traditional use is widespread but there are no data to validate this use.
For Healthcare Professionals
Damiana is a wild shrub prevalent in South America. It is used in traditional medicine as a diuretic, laxative, stimulant, aphrodisiac and for treating diabetes and venereal diseases.
In vitro and animal studies have shown that damiana exerts anxiolytic (1) (17) and antidepressant effects (17); stimulates sexual behavior (3) (13) (14); and has hypoglycemic (7) (9), anti-ulcer (15) as well as cytotoxic (16) properties. It is used in the botanical formulation ArginMax (4), which is marketed for the treatment of sexual dysfunction in women. But data from studies of damiana’s estrogenic activity are conflicting (8) (12).
Oral intake of capsules containing a mixture of damiana, Yerba Mate, and Guarana resulted in weight loss in healthy volunteers (5). Damiana has not been studied in cancer patients.
Mechanism of Action
Damiana’s anti-ulcer activity is believed to be due to the inhibition of lipid peroxidation, immuno modulation and antioxidant effects of its major constituent, arbutin (15). In other studies, a damiana extract and pinocembrin and acacetin, compounds derived from the herb, suppressed aromatase activity. Other compounds including apigenin 7-glucoside, Z-echinacin and pinocembrin demonstrated estrogenic activity (12).The pro-sexual activity of damiana was shown to involve the nitric oxide pathway, with the anxiolytic property of the herb thought to contribute to such effects (14).