Damiana Benefits and Side Effects
Damiana [Turnera diffusa]

Damiana grows in hot and humid climates such as Central America and Southern Africa.

Damiana is a medicinal plant with many traditional uses and a reputation as an aphrodisiac.
Traditionally, it is believed to benefit sexual disorders, allergies and infections. Essential oils
produced by this plant are used in traditional medicine, and for the preparation of liquors
and tea. The most abundant constituents of the oils were caryophyllene oxide,
caryophyllene, delta-cadinene, elemene and 1,8-cineol. [2]

Researchers at Aeron Biotechnology tested 150 herbs for their relative capacity to compete
with estradiol and progesterone binding to intracellular receptors for progesterone (PR) and
estradiol (ER) in intact human breast cancer cells. They found that soy, licorice, red clover,
thyme, tumeric, hops, and verbena are the highest ER-binding herbs while oregano,
verbena, tumeric, thyme, red clover and damiana are the highest PR-binding herbs and
spices. In general, ER-binding herbal extracts were agonists, much like estradiol, whereas
PR-binding extracts, were neutral or antagonists. [3]

Researchers from University of Hawaii conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to
determine the role of dietary supplementation on sexual function in women of differing
menopausal status. In this study, the researchers supplied a herbal complex containing
L-arginine, ginseng, ginkgo, damiana, multivitamins, and minerals to 55 women with a low
sexual desire. After four weeks of treatment, premenopausal women primarily reported
significant improvement in level of sexual desire (72%) and satisfaction with overall sex life
(68%). While, among perimenopausal women, primary improvements were reported for
frequency of intercourse (86%), satisfaction with sexual relationship (79%), and vaginal
dryness (64%) compared with placebo group. POST women primarily showed an increased
in level of sexual desire(51%). Thus, researchers suggest its potential benefits in sexual
concerns. [1]

In another study of 77 women over the age of 21 years, 34 received a herbal preparation
containing extracts of ginseng, ginkgo, and damiana, L-arginine, multivitamins, and
minerals.After 4 weeks, 73.5% of the herb-treated group improved in satisfaction with their
overall sex life, compared with 37.2% of the placebo group. The researchers reported
notable improvements in sexual desire, reduction of vaginal dryness, frequency of sexual
intercourse and orgasm, and clitoral sensation. They reported no significant side effects in
the study. [5]

Researchers from Medical Center Charlottenlund, Denmark, noticed a herbal mixture
containing Yerbe Mate, Guarana and Damiana prolonged gastric emptying time and reduced
body weight in a study of 44 healthy overweight subjects. [4]

Side Effects of Damiana

Based on its action, it affects the female hormonal system, may cause stomach upset and
weight loss. Its side effects may also include stool loosening.

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Reference
[1] Ito TY, et al, The Enhancement of Female Sexual Function with ArginMax, a Nutritional Supplement, Among
Women Differing in Menopausal Status. J Sex Marital Ther. 2006 Oct-Dec;32(5):369-78. [2]Alcaraz-Melendez L, et
al, Analysis of essential oils from wild and micropropagated plants of damiana (Turnera diffusa).Fitoterapia. 2004
Dec;75(7-8):696-701. [3] Zava DT, et al, Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices.Proc Soc Exp
Biol Med. 1998 Mar;217(3):369-78. [4] Andersen T, et al, Weight loss and delayed gastric emptying following a
South American herbal preparation in overweight patients.J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001 Jun;14(3):243-50. [5] Ito TY, et al,
A double-blind placebo-controlled study of ArginMax, a nutritional supplement for enhancement of female sexual
function.J Sex Marital Ther. 2001 Oct-Dec;27(5):541-9.
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