DAMIANA (Turnera diffusa)

 

Damiana is a weed native to areas such as Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. The leaf and stem are harvested to compound natural medicines. 
 
 
We make no therapeutic claims for any product not listed with the TGA.  This information is to provide history for educational purposes only.  Only use on the advice of a registered health professional.
 
 
Damiana was primarily used as an aphrodisiac by ancient cultures, believed to increase sexual desire.  Other reported traditional applications include headache, inflammation, fluid retention, smooth muscle spams, gastrointestinal ulceration, depression, bed wetting, cough suppression, constipation, urinary tract infection, mental stamina, menstrual cramping, and to strengthen the nervous system.  More recently it has developed quite a following overseas as a smoked or vaporized alternative to Cannabis, due to a mild buzz when inhaled.  This may be due to the presence of low levels of cyanide like compounds. 
 
 
Traditional cultures sometimes used Damiana to induce convulsions for traditional ceremonies.  Symptoms similar to rabies or strychnine poisoning have apparently been reported after taking around 200 grams of Damiana extract.
 
 
According to the university of Mississippi, Damiana contains up to 35 known compounds including flavonoids, terpenoids, saccharides, phenolics, and cyanogenic derivatives, including five new compounds (1-5) and a new natural product (6). These compounds were characterized as luteolin 8-C-E-propenoic acid (1), luteolin 8-C-beta-[6-deoxy-2-O-(alpha-l-rhamnopyranosyl)-xylo-hexopyranos-3-uloside] (2), apigenin 7-O-(6' '-O-p-Z-coumaroyl-beta-d-glucopyranoside) (3), apigenin 7-O-(4' '-O-p-Z-coumaroylglucoside) (4), syringetin 3-O-[beta-d-glucopyranosyl-(1-->6)-beta-d-glucopyranoside] (5), and laricitin 3-O-[beta-d-glucopyranosyl-(1-->6)-beta-d-glucopyranoside] (6).
 
 
The ideal temperature for releasing the most useful active compounds via aromatherapy is reported to be 190C, yet other sources report 150C to 170C.
 
 
Standardized extracts, tinctures, and solid formulations prepared by a health professional may provide more reliable dosage, however there is no guarantee of strength, purity, or safety of herbal medications, so effects can vary.  As with any medicinal preparation, to ensure the correct dose, patients have been encouraged to measure all liquid medications with an appropriate device such as a dropper, measuring spoon, or cup.  Some forms of Damiana have been brewed to form a tea for drinking.  Using different formulations of Damiana together greatly increases risk of an overdose. 
 
 
At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for Damiana. The appropriate dosage of Damiana depends on several factors such as the patient's age, health, and other medical conditions. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician before taking.
 
 
Dosages used by traditional cultures
(not recommended)
Due to TGA regulations, we have been advised not to provide dosage information on our website.  Ask your registered health professional.

 
While Damiana has some immediate effects, they are said to build up and increase over a period of weeks.  As with many herbs, consuming regularly in smaller amounts has resulted in longer lasting benefits, while high doses are said to have a short lived but more intense effects. After a period of regular consumption of any herb, a pause of a few weeks is always recommended.
 
 
 
 
Damiana Tea
Tea is often considered the most effective method of administration, and is best taken at regular intervals over a period of a couple of weeks.  Volume can be reduced by boiling off excess fluid.  Honey can be added for flavor and sweetness.
 
 
Smoking Damiana
The least common method of administration.  Smoking Damiana is considered harmful to your health due to harmful toxins released in the process of combustion.
 
 
Damiana Vodka
Another common and effective way to extract and consume medicinal compounds is the use of vodka as a solvent.  Patients have been known to soak medicinal herbs such as Damiana in vodka for around 14 days to extract active compounds.
 
 
Damiana Tincture
 
 
  
 
Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding.
(Traditional cultures have been known to use Damiana to induce abortion.  Avoid at all costs.)
Do not use in children.
 
 
Side effects -
Very few side effects have been listed due to lack of scientific studies and very low usage.  Some of the more commonly reported adverse effects include hallucinations, erotic dreams, mood changes, insomnia, headaches, and diarrhoea.  It is unknown whether these effects are dose related.  

 

Other medical conditions -

Diabetes - Damiana may reduce blood sugar levels, monitor blood glucose closely if using Damiana.
Surgery - May induce hypoglycaemia, therefore discontinue use two weeks prior to surgical procedures.
Breast cancer -  Damiana has been reported to have a high affinity for progesterone receptors.  Information is limited in this regard.  It is best to avoid Damiana with a personal, or strong family history of hormone related cancer.  Care must be taken when co administering with medications containing progesterone analogues and their blockers due to competition for the same receptor.
Psychiatric disorders - Traditional cultures have used Damiana to induce psychosis and seizures for rite of passage rituals.  Please avoid use if previously diagnosed or taking medications for psychiatric disorders.
Alzheimer's - Avoid use due to reported CNS depression.
Parkinsons -  Avoid use due to reported CNS depression.

 

Drug interactions -

Anti diabetic drugs can potentially interact with Damiana due to it's ability to lower blood sugar level.  If using these medications together, start with a very low dose of Damiana then titrate up whilst closely monitoring blood sugar level.  Due to the number of generic brands on the Australian market we cannot possibly list them all.  Here is a list of some of the more common molecules and brand names:

Metformin:  Diaformin, Diabex, Formet, Glucobete, Glucophage, Glucovance.

Glibenclamide:  Daonil.

Gliclazide:  Diamicron, Glyade, Oziclide, Nidem.

Glimepiride:  Amaryl, Aylide, Dimirel, Diapride.

Glipizide:  Melizide, Minidiab.

Pioglitazone:  Actos, Vexazone, Acpio, Pizaccord.

Rosiglitazone:  Avandia, Avandamet.

Linagliptin:  Trajenta.

Saxagliptin:  Onglyza.

Sitagliptin:  Januvia, Janumet.

Vildagliptin:  Galvus, Galvumet.

Acarbose:  Glucobay

Exenidate:  Byetta.

 

 

WARNING - 

    Ask your Pharmacist before thinking about taking Damiana with any other medication.

     

     

    Although rare, allergic reactions to Damiana may occur. Stop taking Damiana and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives.