Damiana is a native of the Gulf of Mexico and regions of southern California and is also found in the wild throughout Mexico, Central and South America, the West Indies and Africa.
Turnera diffusa is a relatively small shrub reaching a height of 3-6 feet, and produces small, aromatic yellow blossoms and sweet smelling serrated leaves. It blossoms in early to late summer and is followed by fig like fruits with a similar taste. Damiana leaves smell alot like chamomile but is best blended with other herbs for tea, as the taste is rather bitter.
If this beauty is chosen to grow in your landscape, Damiana is best positioned in the back of borders. You'll want to choose a sunny spot where the plant will get from 8 to 10 hours of sun a day. It prefers the heat of the southern growing regions and is not frost hardy. It can be grown farther north provided it gets adequate sun and is protected from the cold. I've seen it successfully grown indoors as a house plant as well. When the roots get large enough, it can survive a winter freeze even though everything above ground will die back.
Damiana is very hardy but requires good drainage in whatever soil it grows in, so build up your soil with extra sand or compost. It's important to prune back the straggly shoots if you want to keep the plant in bush form. Don't forget to save the leaves to dry for tea. If you live in an area where the winters are too cold, keep the plant in a pot in the ground so you can easily pull it up and bring it indoors to a sunny room or a greenhouse.
As for its uses, Damiana has been popularly used as an aphrodisiac and for asthma,
bronchitis, neurosis, diabetes, dysentery, dyspepsia, headaches,
paralysis, nephrosis, spermatorrhea, stomachache, and syphilis.
Damiana is often associated with impotence and other sexual dysfunctions.
This herb brings circulation to the sex organs helping to increase the libido. While men have
traditionally used this herb for this purpose, women may find it a usefull herb as well. Women can also benefit from using damiana during their menses as it helps relieve painful periods and other symptoms such as back pain and irritability.
For those who suffer from mild depression, you may want to consider Damiana as an option. It works to help relieve stress and anxiety. And unlike many pharmaceutical antidepressants, it won’t decrease your sex drive. Look for dried Damiana in my Local Harvest store.
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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.
Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.
Jessica Morgan, M.H.