Damiana

Damiana

Damiana

For Patients & Caregivers

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 as a diuretic, laxative, stimulant, aphrodisiac, and also to treat diabetes and venereal diseases. Animal data show that Damiana can reduce anxiety and affect sexual behavior but there is no human data. Patients with diabetes should avoid Damiana because it may increase effects of drugs that reduce blood sugar.

  • Diuretic
    No scientific evidence supports this use.
  • Diabetes
    Damiana may affect blood sugar level based on animal studies.
  • Aphrodisiac
    Traditional use is widespread. A small study in women with sexual dysfunction showed that ArginMax, which contains Damiana, improved sexual function.
  • Stimulant
    There are no clinical data to support this use.
  • Anxiety
    Data from studies done on mice show that Damiana reduced anxiety but human studies are lacking.
  • Laxative
    There are no data to substantiate this use.
  • Kidney disorders
    No scientific evidence supports this use.
  • Menstrual disorders
    Traditional use is widespread but there are no data to validate this use.
  • You are taking diuretics (Damiana can increase their effects).
  • You are taking medication to reduce blood sugar (Damiana may affect blood sugar level and the combined effects can be harmful).
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For Healthcare Professionals

Turnera diffusa, Turnera aphrodisiaca

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. Studies done in mice have shown that Damiana acts as an anxiolytic (1), stimulates sexual behavior (3) (13), and has hypoglycemic activity (7) (9). It is used in the botanical formulation ArginMax (4), which is marketed for the treatment of sexual dysfunction in women. 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 led to weight loss in healthy volunteers (5).

Diabetics should use Damiana with caution as it may potentiate the effects of hypoglycemic drugs.
Damiana has not been studied in cancer patients.

  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disorders
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Sexual performance
  • Stimulant

Damiana extract and two of its compounds, pinocembrin and acacetin, could significantly suppress aromatase activity. Other compounds including pigenin 7-glucoside, Z-echinacin and pinocembrin showed estrogenic activity (12).

Sensitivity to Damiana

  • Diuretics: Theoretically, Damiana can increase the effects of diuretics.
  • Hypoglycemic drugs: Damiana may have additive effects.
     (6)

  1. Kumar S and Sharma A. Anti-anxiety Activity Studies on Homoeopathic Formulations of Turnera aphrodisiaca Ward. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2005; 2(1): 117-119.

  2. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 2001.

  3. Perez RM, et al. A study of the hypoglycemic effect of some Mexican plants. J Ethnopharmacol 1984; 12(3): 253-62.

  4. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, and Blein M. Estrogen and Progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. P.S.E.B.M. 1998; 217: 369-378.

  5. Alarcon-Aguilara FJ, et al. Study of the anti-hyperglycemic effect of plants used as antidiabetics. J Ethnopharmacol. 1998; 61(2):101-10.

  6. Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/. Accessed April 11, 2011.

  7. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, 1998.

  8. Zhao J, Dasmahapatra AK, Khan SI, Khan IA. Anti-aromatase activity of the constituents from damiana (Turnera diffusa). J Ethnopharmacol. 2008;120(3):387-93.

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

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