Fact Sheet 1
Fact Sheet 2
Fact Sheet 3
Chapter from Back Yard Medicine Chest
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
Part Used: leaves
Remember This: Mental Mint and Aphrodisiac
Reasonable Uses: exhaustion, mental fatigue, poor energy levels, nervous exhaustion masquerading as depression, poor concentration, poor sex drive, poor sexual performance, lack of sexual satisfaction.
History and Traditional Uses
When the Spaniards arrived in the new world they were treated to a strange and exotic tonic beverage concocted of chocolate, damiana, and vanilla. Meant to put spring back in the travel worn sailors step, history says it did just that. Damiana, long used by the Native Americans quickly became popular amongst the Europeans. It was used it to treat mental exhaustion and lack of sexual desire.(The mentally weary rarely crave sex)
Damiana’s curious action on the sex organs was not overlooked by the doctors of the last century. More than one physician noted that “loose women” living south of the border used damiana laced cocktails to encourage bad behaviour on the part of northern visitors. These same doctors prescribed it to their patients whose marital bliss was blown. When lack of sex drive was a symptom of mental exhaustion, Damiana was the herb of choice. It added tone and strength to a nervous system showing signs of wear and tear.
Scientific Back Up
Sadly, we do not know how Damiana works. It contains volatile oils and alkaloids thought to activate both the mind and the sex organs. Some herbal experts suspect it contains compounds similar to those found in chemical anti-depressants and others that resemble the ones in the very popular chemical stallion makers on the market today.
Herbalists Use It To…
Refresh working moms
Nothing like working full time and keeping a family together to wear a person out. Many end up seriously tired. Bone tired. Women are misdiagnosed as being depressed and dosed with chemical antidepressants. In fact they are overworked, under rested, and need a building tonic. Damiana is used as nerve tonic to support, boost, and build a nervous system being torn apart by crazy scheduling. Men feeling the strain will be equally helped by its daily use.
Brighten Post Stress Blues
Sometimes after the exam, the wedding, or the completion a major project, we feel tired, empty, and listless. For those that have crossed the finish line and feel blue and lethargic, Damiana can be a god send. Some see it as inspiration in a bottle, a shot of enthusiasm for those that have none of their own. The lack of verve is really a set of worn out nerves and Damiana a building nerve tonic that can put them right. After a few weeks of using it people say they feel like themselves again!
Locate a Sex Drive Gone Missing
Damiana has a peculiar activity on the sex organs and mind attached to them. They increase the desire for sex. If someone’s sex drive, male or female, has gone missing, there is no better an herb than Damiana to locate it. Long used in Bordellos in Latin America for this very purpose, Damania can help a person find something they lost somewhere on the road of life. Something they would like to get back.
Make procreation intercourse more fun
More and more couples are having to make a concerted effort to start a family. Ovulation predicting devices, temperature taking, and mandatory intercourse have become a way of life for many. Herbalists suggest using Damiana to add some spice to what has become drudgery.
Damiana is fairly easy to get at the health food shop or from a mail order herb company. Avoid products containing other herbal remedies. If you are in Mexico, you might want to get a bottle of the liqueur that bears the name “Damiana”. It will provide the family with more fun than the usual bottle of vanilla extract!
Damiana is extremely safe. Taken in too large a dose it is said to loosen stools so stick to the recommended dosages.
Fact Sheet 2
Part Used: Leaves
In a Word: Libido Kick Start
Uses: Lack of sexual desire, poor sexual performance, lack of fulfilment
Since the beginning of time mankind has scoured the hills and fields for plants that could increase sexual satisfaction and pleasure. As a result, we now have a long list of plants reported to increase sexual powers: Angelica from Asia, Damiana from Latin America, and Fenugreek from the Middle East, to mention only a few. In days gone by, these medicinal plants were available only to the very rich. Today, in the world of global transport and modern agriculture, many of these once rare and coveted substances have become more widely available.
When you look at the list of plants traditionally used as aphrodisiacs, one thing becomes clear. The person interested in using an herbal sexual supplement has so many choices that it is hard to know which would be most appropriate. Education is the key! Good information will make it easier to select the herbal medicine which is right for your personal circumstance. Finding the right fit is important!
If you read about Damiana, you do not have to look hard to find a hint of its history and reputation. Its second scientific name, aphrodisiaca says it all. For hundreds if not thousands of years, Damiana has been used to shake things up in the bedroom. Native to Central America, the Spanish Conquistadors quickly came across Damiana in the New World. It was a popular “medicine” amongst the Native Americans who very happily passed on their knowledge to the foreign invaders. The Spaniards found it to be an active aphrodisiac for men and women, and in turn introduced it to Europe. Before we move on, it might be interesting to note a strange concoction the Native Americans handed to the Conquistadors upon their arrival – a beverage made from bitter chocolate, hot cayenne peppers, and Damiana. This brew was said to invigorate the entire body and especially the parts that do not see the sun rise. As you can imagine, the taste left something to the imagination! But even though this specific beverage has been forgotten, two of its ingredients have become quite popular.
Let’s get back to the topic of aphrodisiacs! If you go to your local GP and ask for a medicine to put some fire back in your sex life, you will leave the office empty handed. This is especially true if you are a woman. Not so in the last century. Doctors of that day kept more than one drug in the medicine bag to get things rocking. It might pay to have a look at what some of these long dead doctors had to say about Damiana, one of their preferred aphrodisiacs. In 1906 a certain Dr. Ellingwood wrote:
“A mild nerve tonic claimed to be valuable in the treatment of sexual impotence. Some of our physicians praise it highly for its influence in sexual neurasthenia, and it is said to correct frigidity in the female. It has long enjoyed a local reputation as a stimulant tonic of the sexual apparatus among the natives of Mexico, before it attracted the attention of the profession.”
In case you were wondering, neurasthenia means “lack of sensation.” The doctors said that when patients used Damiana their sex bits experienced an increase in sensation and the patient experienced increased desire to use their sex bits.
Damiana can be used by both men and women to invigorate their sex life. Though Damiana does deserve a place in the aphrodisiac medicine chest, it also has a role in the general medicine chest. The physicians of the last century also saw Damiana as an active nerve tonic, a medicine that would invigorate and strengthen a tired nervous system
Many patients come into my office complaining of poor, if not non-existent sex drive. With few exceptions, upon further questioning, it becomes clear that the real problem is they are simply tired. Modern life is demanding. By the end of the day, most people are mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. This is especially true for many women. Working full-time, keeping house, and looking after kids and a husband results in extreme fatigue. For these contemporary “Super Women,” sex becomes one more thing to be done at the end of a too long day. Classed along with taking the rubbish out, sex becomes a chore. Indeed, when one is tired, sex is a chore. There is nothing wrong with their sex drive; the problem is their schedule.
These women need a tonic which will help support their bodies and their minds. Damiana is just such a tonic. It gently soothes and builds up the nervous system so that the person is better able to handle a long day and a long week. Most are familiar with Saint John’s Wort, the herbal medicine commonly used in depression and nervous exhaustion. Damiana and Saint John’s Wort both belong to a class of herbal medicines known as nervines or nerve tonics. (Of course Damiana has the added benefit of being a sexual tonic at the same time.) The “Super Woman” needs a supertonic and Damiana may be just what the doctor ordered.
When one of the symptoms of nervous exhaustion is lack of sexual desire (which is common), Damiana is an ideal nerve tonic. In this case, 5 ml of Damiana tincture should be taken morning and night. But be patient! A nervous system does not get worn down overnight and a nerve tonic does not build it back up overnight either. Damiana needs to be taken for at least three weeks before its effect will be felt and an appreciable difference noticed. However, it does work, and those who use it find that they feel better in all areas of their life, in and out of the bedroom!
One last tale finishes off the Damiana story nicely. Some years ago, I had an extremely religious female patient, who by choice, had no sex life. A fairly high strung woman, my patient had worked herself up to the point of combustion over several issues, to the extent that she was mentally and physically exhausted. I gave her a prescription for her nerves, in which one of the ingredients was Damiana. After two weeks the patient called urgently, stating that something was terribly wrong and needed immediate attention. The problem? Her long suppressed sex drive had made a return and she was not happy about it. The Damiana was removed from her prescription. Many may doubt whether or not aphrodisiacs work, but those who work with them do not suffer from such doubt!
Fact Sheet 3
Part Used: Leaf
In a Word: Anti-depressant for the exhausted
Uses: Mental Exhaustion /Depression
Some of us live stressful lives. For some, stress is an occupational hazard. Fortunately, there are herbal medicines that combat the effect of stress on our bodies and even the effects it has on our nerves. If your nerves are taking a beating, you might want to think about taking a daily tonic to strengthen and nourish them. If it sounds as if I am suggesting that you add one more activity to your already overwhelming schedule, I am. But hey, if you can get organized enough to make coffee every morning, you ought to be able to get it together to add a nerve tonic to your daily routine.
Damiana, the plant we will use to generally strengthen the nerves, is yet another Native American plant. Damiana can be found growing throughout the southern United States, Mexico, and well into Latin America. It looks much like oregano. The whole stems are harvested when the plant breaks into bloom. Once they are dry, they are stripped of their leaves and buds, and that’s what you buy at the herb shop.
Did you ever read the list of ingredients on a package of commercially produced food and wonder what “flavorings” were? Everything else is so nicely spelled out, and then you come across this mysterious entry called flavorings. One of these flavorings is none other than damiana. It is used as a flavor ingredient in alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, frozen dairy desserts, candy, baked goods, gelatins, and puddings. This may not seem particularly strange to you right now, but as you learn a little more about the plant, it might. Strange or not, the plant is rated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being food safe, so you can use it for your nerves without a second thought.
The Indians in northern Mexico have long collected the plant from the wild to treat nervous and muscular debility, especially when this is due to overexertion. (Working several weeks with not so much as a day off is considered overexertion.) In Latin America, the native peoples used damiana as a treatment for bed-wetting in children. This problem has now been established to be a nervous condition, and it comes as no surprise that there is an increase in bed-wetting as the summer draws to a close and children begin to anticipate their return to school. Stress isn’t any easier on the little guys than it is on the big ones. The Indians found that the gentle tonic would strengthen a kid’s nerves so that he or she could sleep dry. If you have a bed-wetting problem, or any other symptoms of an overwrought nervous system, you have the right plant in mind.
Along with chocolate, vanilla, and red pepper, damiana came to the notice of the white man when the Spaniards moved into Mexico. Anglo doctors in Texas learned of the plant from the Native Americans and introduced it to the English-speaking colonies. From that point, the use of damiana spread as far north as Canada.
What physicians discovered was that damiana acted as a strengthener to the nerves, particularly when the patient had been pushed to the brink of nervous exhaustion. Furthermore, people with nervous dispositions found that they had capabilities beyond those normally theirs when taking the herb. Damiana counters weakness with strength, so skip the coffee and replace it with a little damiana tea if you wake up as tired as you were when you went to bed. One of the Eclectics, Dr. Finley Ellingwood, said this of damiana: “Dr. Reid uses damiana in all conditions where a general tonic is needed, especially if there be enfeeblement of the central nervous system. He esteems it most highly, prescribing it constantly for this purpose.” If you ever experience “enfeeblement” at the end of the day, damiana can make a difference without turning you into a junkie in the process.
This is one plant that has escaped the gaze and probing hands of the pharmaceutical companies. Damiana contains volatile oils including thymol, b-cadinene, calamene, cineole, pinene, and calamenene; and also flavonoids, hydroquinones, cyanogenetic glycoside, damianin, resin, and tannins. Which chemicals and which combinations impact the nerves as they do remain a mystery. The important thing for you to know is that the plant works. It will help you with your nervous twitch.
The modern age has brought us all kinds of liberties, one of which is the so-called sexual revolution. Ironically, people of today are some of the most sexless beings ever to have walked the planet. One common symptom of an overworked nervous switchboard is a complete lack of sexual desire. A hard day’s work puts a lot of things on the back burner, and sex is one of them. Many people who are completely stripped by daily life come home with no interest in sex. This works fine if both partners have stressful jobs and are equally disinclined. When such is not the case, it can become a problem. Damiana has been long known as an aphrodisiac. It is unclear whether this impact is due to the strengthening effect damiana has on the nerves, which in turn normalizes sexual desire, or whether it contains chemicals that fire up the libido. In Latin America, a liqueur is made out of damiana that is called by the same name, but I wouldn’t serve this particular cocktail at a gathering unless you want to party Roman style. Eclectic physician Finley Ellingwood from earlier this century had this to say about the herb:
A mild nerve tonic claimed to be caluave in the treatment of sexual impotence. Some of our physicians praise it highly for its influence in sexual neurasthenia, and it is said to correct frigidity in the female. It had long enjoyed a local reputation as a stimulant tonic of the sexual apparatus among the natives of Mexico, before it attracted the attention of the profession. Besides its peculiar action on the sexual appetite and function, it is a general tonic, somewhat cathartic and is slightly cholagogue. The midwives and women of loose morals of western Mexico also attribute emmenagogue properties to it.
The Eclectics felt that damiana both steadied the nerves and stimulated the general constitution to improved health.
People who find themselves mentally exhausted are generally running themselves pretty hard. It makes sense for them to use a tonic to build up their nerves. Damiana is just such a tonic. If mental exhaustion is masquerading as depression, think about adding Damiana to your daily health regime. The plant is perfectly safe and suited to long-term use.
Remember, though, that unlike an upper or a downer, Damiana’s impact will not be felt in 45 minutes. Like other herbal tonics, it takes a while to work on the nerves . It may be a few weeks before you start to feel a difference, but you will feel it eventually. After all, you didn’t get yourself in this state overnight, and no plant will make things perfect on the first usage. Use Damiana to strengthen your nervous system and you should be better able to deal with the stress in your life.
Apart from using this nerve tonic, think about ways you can reduce your stress. It is all very well to use something like Damiana to combat the stress in your life. It is another thing all together to get your life under control so you have less stress. Most practitioners find that 50% of their patients stress is optional. Take a look at your sources of stress and decide which are optional. Once you have made that determination, opt out of the optional sources of stress.
Chapter from “Backyard Medicine Chest”
Some of us live more stressful lives than others-we will say stress can be an occupational or life hazard. Like with all the categories of illness in this book there is a tonic plant for the nerves. This is for the people that walk around with french fried nerves. If you have a nervous weakness or if your nerves are constantly under siege you might want to think about giving them a daily tonic to strengthen and nourish them. Sounds like I am suggesting you add one more activity to your overwhelming schedule, Hey, if you can get organized enough to make coffee every morning, you ought to be able to brew a cup of tea that is actually good for your nerves.
Yet another native American plant, the plant we will use to generally strengthen the nerves is called damiana. Damiana can be found growing throughout the southern united states , into mexico , and well into Latin America . If you’ve not seen it the plant looks much like oregano. The whole stems are harvested when the plant breaks into bloom and once dry the leaves and buds are stripped off the plant and that’s what you buy at the herb shop.
Did you ever wonder what the “flavorings” in the list of ingredients on a package of commercially made food were? Everything else is so nicely spelled out and then you come onto this mystery section called “flavorings”. One of the many unknown flavorings is none other than our next plant for the nerves, damiana. Damiana is used as a flavor ingredient in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, frozen dairy deserts, candy, naked goods, gelatins, and puddings. This may not seem that strange to you just now, but as you learn a little more about the plant it might. The plant is rated by the American Food and Drug Administration as being food safe and thus you can use it for your nerves without a second thought.
In order to look at Damiana we have to go to its origins in America to see what people in those parts have to say about it. The indians in Northern Mexico have collected the plant from the wild to treat nervous and muscular debility, especially when this is due to over exertion. (working several weeks with not so much as a day off is considered over exertion.) The war path was a tiresome affair what with all the scalpings and village razings to be done. This sort of hair raising ( or lowering) experience and the after the party debility that ensured was treated with damaina tea by the Indians living in the area that we know call Texas .
One of the more telling use of damiana in Latin America amongst the native peoples was as a treatment for bedwetting in children. This problem has been established to be a nervous condition. It comes as no surprise there is an increase in bedwetting as the summer draws to a close and children begin to anticipate the return to school. Stress. The Indians found that the gentle nerve tonic that damiana provides would get the a kids nerves strengthened and the bedwetting would go away. If you have a bedwetting problem -or other symptoms of an overwrought nervous system, you have the right plant in mind.
Damiana came to the notice of the white man as the spaniards moved into mexico . Along with chocolate, vanilla, and red pepper they learned of damiana and its use in the treatment of worked nerves. Anglo doctors in Texas learned of the plant from the native americans and introduced it to the English speaking colonies. From that point the use of damiana spread all over the English speaking colonies as far north as Canada . The drug was well received as it worked wonders.
What physicians all over the America discovered was that damiana acted as a strengthener to the nerves, particularly if some one had been pushed to the brink of nervous exhaustion. As well people of a nervous disposition found that they had capabilities beyond those normally theirs when taking damiana. It counters weakness with strength, skip the coffee and replace it with a little damiana tea if you wake up as tired as when you went to bed. One of the Eclectics said this of damiana, “Dr. Reid uses damiana in all conditions where a general tonic is needed, especially if there be enfeeblement,of the central nervous system. He esteems it most highly, prescribing it constantly for this purpose.” Actually the Eclectic was quoting another Eclectic. I would say many persons feel enfeebled at the end of the day and fortunately there is a plant out there that can make a difference and not make them Junkies in the process.
This is one plant that has escaped the gaze and probing hands of the pharmaceutical companies and the how the plant works to strengthen the nerves remains a secret. The plant contains volatile oils including thymol, b-cadinene and calamene, cineole, pinene, and calamenene, flavanoids, hydroquinones, cyanogenetic glycoside, damianin, resin, tannins. Which chemicals and what combinations impact the nerves as they do is for the scientists to figure out at a later date. The important thing is the plant works and it will help you with your nervous twitch.
The modern age has brought all kinds of liberties, one element being the so called sexual revolution. Unfortunately modern people are some the most sexless beings ever to have lived. One common symptom of on overworked switchboard is a complete lack of sexual desire. A problem in modern marriages is sexual frustration, a problem that is directly nerve fatigue related. Many people who are completely stripped by the daily life come home with no interest in sex. This works fine if both partners work stressful job and are equally disinterested. When such is not the case it can become a problem. A hard days work puts a lot of things on the back burner, and sex is one of them. Damiana has been long known as an aphrodisiac, capable of reviving the dead of the dead in the bedroom. It is unclear as of yet as to whether this impact is due to the strengthening effect it has on the nerves which in turn normalizes sexual desire or whether there are actually chemicals that fire up the libido. In Latin America a liqueur is made out of damiana which is called by the same name. I wouldn’t serve this cocktail at a drinks party unless you want to party Roman style. One Eclectic from earlier this century had this to say about it,
“A mild nerve tonic claimed to be caluave in the treatment of sexual impotence. Some of our physicians praise it highly for its influence in sexual neurasthenia, and it is said to correct frigidity in the female. It had long enjoyed a local reputation as a stimulant tonic of the sexual apparatus among the natives of Mexico , before it attracted the attention of the profession. Besides its peculiar action on the sexual appetite and function, it is a general tonic , somewhat cathartic and is slightly cholagogue. The midwives and women of loose morals of western Mexico also attribute emmenagogue properties to it.”
The ecletics found that damiana not only steadied the nerves but in fact stimulated the general constitution to improved health. People whom find themselves mentally exhausted are generally running their bodies pretty hard as well and it makes sense to use some tonic to build up the overall system. The plant is perfectly safe and suited to long term use. In fact for westerners using plants such as damiana there can be a problem when they dont get instant results from herbals medicines they are accustomed. Unlike an upper or a downer, damiana takes a while to work on the body and its impact will not be felt in 45 minutes the way western drugs work. Be prepared, it takes a few weeks to feel the difference, but you will feel it eventually. You didn’t get yourself into this state overnight and no plant will make things perfect on the first sip.
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
1895: Watkins: DAMIANA, SP MED:
Sexual impotence, weakness, and debility, nervousness, mental depression. One drachm to four ounces water; teaspoonful every four hours.
This remedy, better known as Damiana, is a tonic in relaxed states of the urinary organs attended by the deposition of oxalates and phospated in the urine. It has enjoyed a wide reputation in the treatment of impotency, and has probably been over lauded, though its properties are undoubtedly valuable in some cases of this kind.
1901 : Harvey W Felter (Tonics) – DAMIANA – DAMIANA
BOTANICAL ORIGIN – The leaves and tops of Turnera aphoridisiaca , Ward and Vasey; Nat. Ord., Turneraceae , Mexico .
SPECIFIC DAMIANA -This is made of the fragrant, true Damian leaves. Considerable amounts of a false drug, resinous like Grindelia, have been sold for Damiana.
This drug is a tonic to the urinary and sexual organs. It is a small tropical plant, native to Mexico , having an aromatic taste. Water and alcohol extract its virtues. It is tonic to the sexual organs and stimulant to the kidneys, hence it is a good remedy in impotence or sexual atony. In chronic catarrh of the bladder and kidneys it sometimes proves a good remedy. Besides being a local tonic it imparts tone to the general system.
Use the fluid extract or tincture in doses of from one-half to one drachm four times a day. For females iron may be needed with it. Phosphorous may also be employed with it or in alternation with it. It is much used in respiratory troubles to relieve irritation, lessen cough, arrest hypersecretion, and give tone.
1905: Petersen: TURNERA APHRODISIACA:
Syn – Damiana
P. E. – Laves and tops
N. O. – Turneraceae
N. H. Southwestern States and Mexico
Properties: Diuretic, laxative, stimulant an dtonic.
Use: A mild nerve tonic and stimulating tonic to the sexual apparatus. Of value in renal and cystic catarrh, relieving irritation of the urinary passages. It is highly spoken of as a remedy in sexual impotence.
A mild nerve tonic claimed to be valuable in the treatment of sexual impotence. Some of our physicians praise it highly for its influence in sexual neurasthenia, and it is said to correct frigidity in the female.
It has long enjoyed a local reputation as a stimulant tonic of the sexual apparatus among the natives of mexico , before it attracted the attention of the profession. Besides its peculiar action on the sexual appetite and function, it is a general tonic, somewhat cathartic, and is slightly cholagogue. The midwives and women of loose morals of Western Mexico also attribute emmenagogue properties to it.
Dr.Reid uses damiana in all conditions where a general tonic is needed, especially if there be enfeeblement of the central nervous system. He esteems it most highly, prescribing it constantly for this purpose. It is valuable in renal and cystic catarrh and in general irritation of the urinary passages, through its influence in soothing irritation of mucous membranes.
1909: Felter and Lloyd: DAMIANA – DAMIANA
Botanical Source, History, and Description – This drug was introduced, in 1874, by Dr. F. O. St. Clair, and first appeared in the form of fluid extract, from the firm of Messrs. Helmick & Co., of Washington, D.C. Three distinct varieties or species of plants under the name of Damiana, are occasionally found upon the market, and are derived from as many different sources. In connection with the history of this drug, it may be stated that Mr. H. S. Wellcome read a paper upon the subject before the New York Alumni Association of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, October 15, 1874, at the same time exhibiting cuts of leaves, which were known upon the market, at that time, as “Damiana,” reproduced by us (Fig.92).
The true Damiana, the kind originally introduced by Dr. F. O. St. Clair, who obtained it from Mr. Eugene Gillespie, the United States Consul at Cape San Lucas, is derived from Mexico (see Fig.93). It is evidently from a Mexican species of Turnera, supposed, by E. M. Holmes, to be a smooth-leaved variety of T. microphylla, De Candolle. Prof. Lester F. Ward, on the examination of authentic specimens obtained by Dr. St. Clair, concluded that the drug is obtained from an undescribed species of Turnera, which Prof. Vasey and himself designated Turnera aphrodisiaca, and this name we shall accept for the Mexican damiana, until further light is thrown upon the subject. The result of Prof. Ward’s examination can be found in the Virginia Med. Monthly, April, 1876. We extend our thanks to Dr. St. Clair for the aid given us in our endeavor to obtain the complete history of this drug, as well as for the specimens of original damiana so kindly furnished by himself. In this connection we can say that the leaves of Fig. 93, marked A A, are drawn from the original lot of damiana imported by Dr. St. Clair, in 1872.
The genus Turnera is a small family of chiefly tropical American plants allied to the Passifloreae. The flowers are small, yellow, and in the species that produces damiana, subsessile near the end of the short branches. The calyx is tubular, hairy externally, colored like the petals, and 5-toothed at the apex. The petals are 5, yellow, and inserted on the tube of the calyx. The fruit, specimens of which are often found with damiana leaves, are dry, 1-celled, globular, and about the size of a large hemp seed (Fig 93, B B). They are warty an drough externally, open by 3 valves, and contain from 3 to 6 kidney-shaped seeds (Fig. 93, C, magnified), attached to 3 parietal placentae. Mexican damiana (Turnera aphrodisiaca), as found in market, consists of broken leaves mixed with fragments of the branches, and sometimes, with seed-pods. The branches have a reddish-brown bark, and are covered, when young, with white, cottony hairs. The leaves (Fig. 93, natural size) are less than an inch long, obovate, wedge-shape, and taper at the base to a short, slender leaf-stalk, when young, they are covered with a slight pubesence, but become smooth when old. They are distinctly pinnately veined, and the margin is smoothed with from 8 to 10 teeth.
A variety of damiana, closely resembling the preceding, is derived from California . It was ascertained by Mr. E. M. Holmes to be obtained from Turnera microphylla, De Candolle, a small shrubby plant, native of lower California and northern Mexico . The leaves resemble the Mexican, but are broader, and covered with hairs on both sides (Fig. 92, A, preceding page).
A secon dkin dof California damiana (also a species of Turnera) later made its appearance in the market. We are indebted to Mr. James G. Steele for the fact that this lot of damiana came from San Diego , California , and grew inland, at the southern part of the state. The leaves have the shape of the Mexican damiana, but are larger, and very hairy, especially underneath (Fig. 94, 1/2 natural size, preceding page).
The most common sophistication, however, once sold freely under the name of Damiana, is obtained from Aplopappus discoideus, De Candolle, a Compositae plant of the section Asteroideae. It is one of the few rayless species of Aplopappus, and is referred by some to the genus Linosyris. It has no botanical relation to the true damiana, and can only be considered a sophistication. The leaves (Fig. 95, natural size, and Wellcome’s Fig. 92, B, preceding page) of this plant, as found on the market, are thick, firm, and not so much broken up as the Turnera; the surface of the leaf is rough, resinous, dotted, the mid-rib being prominent; but the veinlets are indistinct. The teeth are toward the apex of the leaf, and are rather remote and sharp. This plant can readily be distinguished from the true damiana by the presence of numerous flower-heads, which are common in all the specimens examined by us (Fig. 95 A). They are borne in axillary clusters of from 4 to 6 heads. The involucre is bell-shaped, and consists of numerous coriaceous imbricated scales, pubescent on the tips. The achenia (Fig. 95, B, magnified) are covered with a dense appressed pubescence, and bear a tawny, scabrous, spreading, unequal pappus.
The sensible properties of the leaves of all the varieties (or species) of Turnera found upon the market, under the name damiana, are similar. All have a fragrant odor, resembling lemon-balm, and a pleasant, slightly aromatic taste. The leaves impart their virtues readily to hot water, as well as to mixtures of water and alcohol. The spurious damiana, Aplopappus discoideus (Fig. 95), is entirely different. It resembles more nearly the Grindelias, both in odor an dtaste. It is very resinous, an dimparts its characteristic properties most freely to strong alcohol. Water hardly affects it, and mixtures of water and alcohol imperfectly exhaust the resinous principles, and do not permanently retain in solution such portions as are extracted. This spurious damiana need never be unintentionally employed, as both the general appearance of the leaf, and the sensible characteristics, are entirely different from all the species of Turnera. It has been offered at half the price of true damiana.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage – This drug has been almost eulogized for its positive aphrodisiac effects, acting energetically upon the genito-urinary organs of both sexes, removing impotence in the one, and frigidity in the other, whether due to abuses or age. Many physicians who have tried it, deny its possession of such virtues, but the friends of the drug attribute their failures to the use of the ……… articles. It will very likely be found to possess laxative, tonic, and diuretic properties only; and the aphrodisiac effects following its use, no more prove that these belong to it, than the same effects, that not unfrequently appear after the employment of many other agents, prove that such agents possess similar excitant virtues. Upon the system at large, it exerts a tonic influence, and is useful in some cases of chronic cystic and renal catarrh. It relieves irritation of the urinary mucous membranes, improves digestion, and overcomes constipation in some instances. In respiratory disorders, it may be employed to relieve irritation and cough, and by its tonic propeties, to check hypersecretion from the broncho-pulmonic membranes. The dose of the fluid extract is from 1/2 fluid drachm to 1/2 fluid ounce; specific damiana, 5 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications and Uses – To relieve irritation of the genito-urinary mucous surfaces. (Sexual weakness and debility, with nervousness and depression[?].
Irritation of the urinary mucous membranes, atonic conditions of the nervous system, constipation. The claim that this drug possesses great aphrodisiac power has not been substantiated by practical experience. Turnera aphrodisiaca is stimulant, tonic, diuretic, and laxative.
1919: Ellingwood – DAMIANA, TURNERA APHRODISIACA
Synonym – Turnera Microphylla.
Preparations – Extractum Damiana Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Damiana. Dose, from one-half to one dram.
Specific Damiana. Dose, from two to ten minims.
Constituents – Essential oil, chlorophyl, two resins, albuminoids, tannin.
Therapy – A mild nerve tonic claimed to be valuable in the treatment of sexual impotence. Some of our physicians praise it highly for its influence in sexual neurasthenia, and it is said to correct frigidity in the female.
It had long enjoyed a local reputation as a stimulant tonic of the sexual apparatus among the natives of Mexico , before it attracted the attention of the profession. Besides its peculiar action on the sexual appetite and function, it is a general tonic, somewhat cathartic, and is slightly cholagogue.
The midwives and women of loose morals of Western Mexico also attribute emmenagogue properties to it.
Dr. Reid uses Damiana in all conditions where a general tinic is needed, especially if there be enfeeblement of the central nervous system. He esteems it most highly, prescribing it constantly for this purpose.
It is valuable in renal and cystic catarrh and in general irritation ofd the urinary passages, through its influence in soothing irritation of mucous membranes.
This latter property renders it valuable in the treatment o frespiratory disorders, especially those accompanied with profuse secretion.
In the line of the action of this remedy in its influence upon the reproductive organs, Dr. Reid mentions dysmenorrhea, headache, at the menstrual epoch, bad complexion, rough or discolored patches on the skin with acne, especially of a severe type, depending upon uterine irritation. Eruption resembling eczema, from insufficient menstruation.
Dr. Watkins gives as its further indications, delayed or suppressed menstruation in young girls, irregularity at the beginning of menstruation, amenorrhoea in very young girls. It will certainly allay sensitiveness of the sympathetic nervous system to irritations caused by disorders of the womb and ovaries. The remedy must be given in full doses, to accomplish these results. From five to ten grains of the extract is necessary three or four times a day, and persisted in. The writer has been using it as suggested, and has been very well satisfied with it.
In one most severe case of acne, with discoloration of the skin, due to uterine irritation, the results were satisfactory, both to the patient and physician. I am satisfied that it relieves hyperesthesia of the sympathetic nervous system and prevents many of the results of reflex irritation from uterine or ovarian disorder.
Disclaimer: The author makes no guarantees as to the the curative effect of any herb or tonic on this website, and no visitor should attempt to use any of the information herein provided as treatment for any illness, weakness, or disease without first consulting a physician or health care provider. Pregnant women should always consult first with a health care professional before taking any treatment.