Damiana is a yellow-flowering plant that is frequently found growing in climates that are relatively hot and humid including Central and South America and in a few regions in the United States. Damiana was traditionally used as a respiratory, neurological, and sexual medicine by indigenous cultures of Mexico. Commercially introduced in the United States in 1874, damiana was marketed as an aphrodisiac and has been claimed to induce euphoria, as well as to help people with depression.
Although there is a clear lack of scientific evidence to support any of the theories for the efficacy attributed to damiana, its seeming ability to induce mild euphoria could support a logical theory that in relatively small quantities, damiana could lead to relaxation and could calm anxiety. Conceivably, those suffering from sexual dysfunction resulting from stress or emotional troubles could benefit from supplementation with this herb. But again, there is not enough scientific evidence to support its use as a medicinal herb.Dosage and Administration
While damiana is commonly used in herbal combinations most experts do not feel that traditional use of this herb is justified by modern research.Possible Side Effects and Interactions
The leaves have a minor laxative effect and may cause loosening of the stools at higher amounts. Until more is known about damiana's effects on the female hormonal system, it should be avoided during pregnancy.Supporting LiteratureBradley PR. British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. Bournemouth, Dorset, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 71-72.