Damiana – Mexican Aphrodisiac
Damiana – dubbed the “ultimate feel good herb” in some cultures – has been used as an aphrodisiac and to boost sexual potency in South America since Mayan times. It comes from a wild shrub that grows in Central and South America.
Spanish missionaries recorded the Mexican Indians drank damiana tea as an aphrodisiac. Ray Sahelian MD is his book Natural Sex Boosters (SquareOne Publishers) suggests it is best used together with other sex boosting herbs like tribulus and horny goat weed, rather than alone, when it may not be effective.
The results of a 2009 ethnopharmacological study by Mexico’s National Institute of Psychiatry support the folk use of damiana as an aphrodisiac and to treat sexual dysfunction.
Livestrong suggests damiana works by increasing the blood flow to the genital area.
Damiana and Sexual Dysfunction
Damiana is traditionally used to treat:
- Frigidity – increases sensual pleasure by increasing blood flow to the clitoris. Also helps revive sex drive in menopausal women by increasing testosterone levels.
- As a mood enhancer – alleviates stress, anxiety and mild depression in both men and women
- For exhaustion – No human clinical studies have been done with damiana, but a study with lab rats showed it recovered sexual behaviour in sexually exhausted males.
- Weight loss – Probably most effective when combined with other herbs that work to suppress appetite like guarana and yerba mate. A Danish study in 2011 showed a capsule of these combined ingredients taken before a meal resulted in people feeling satisfied for longer and produced significant weight loss. Many patents have been filed for weight loss pills containing damiana.
- Increasing sexual response – a combination of bringing more oxygen (via blood) into the genital area, calming and relaxing emotions, and balancing hormones leads to improved response and increased orgasm, anecdotal evidence suggests.
- Affects blood sugar levels – Drug Digest points to animal studies of damiana that found the herb can alter blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you should avoid taking damiana or at least consult your physician before starting a damiana herbal regimen.
How Does Damiana Work?
The compound damianin, a chemical essential to the plant’s structure, has been shown to produce a relaxing effect on the central nervous system.
Damiana has also been shown to have a hypoglycemic effect, prompting discussion about its potential for diabetic and weight loss therapies.
The Physicians’ Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines, recognizes damiana leaf as an herbal supplement that may be helpful for conditions decreased libido, inflammation, and weight loss.
Cautions About Damiana Use
Web MD advises damiana is generally safe but should not be taken by people who have diabetes, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, Alzheimers or Parkinsons disease, or breast cancer. Not recommended for children or women who are pregnant or breast feeding. Because it affects blood sugar, damiana could interact with diabetes drugs.
Herbal Ignite for Women and Damiana
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