Damiana grows wild and is cultivated around
the Gulf of Mexico, and in some South American countries. Damiana is heavily
branched and reaches six and half feet in height. The stems are smooth,
straight, and yellow or reddish-brown in color. Small, obovate leaves grow in
clusters alternately along the stem; the upper surface of which are olive green
with undersurfaces lightly covered with whitish hairs. The leaves have toothed
margins, and small flowers grow in the upper leaf axils. The fruits are small
capsules, slightly curved, with rough skin. The medicinal part is the leaves.
|| Cyanogenic Acid
|| Hydrocyanic Acid
|| Tannic Acid
|| Volatile Oils
* For definition of some of the above terms
see the dictionary section of this book.
PROPERTIES AND USES
Aphrodisiac - any substance which arouses the
Diuretic - Diuretics form a class of drugs which
increase the volume of urine produced by the kidneys. It can be used
effectively to treat mild cases of edema when kidney function is good and when
the underlying abnormality of cardiac function, capillary pressure, or salt
retention is being corrected simultaneously. Diuretics are not an appropriate
treatment for edema caused by inflammation of the kidneys, and are useless in
cardiac edema associated with advanced kidney insufficiency.
Emmenagogue - an agent which stimulate menstrual
Laxative - an agent which acts to loosen the
bowels; it is therefore used to treat constipation. Laxatives may act by
increasing peristalsis by irritating the intestinal mucosa, lubricating the
intestinal walls, softening the bowel contents by increasing the amount of
water in the intestines, and increasing the bulk of the bowel content.
Stimulant - an agent that temporarily increases
activity or physiological processes. Stimulants may be classified according to
the organ upon which they act; for example, an intestinal stimulant is that
which stimulates the intestines.
Tonic - an agent which strengthens or tones.
Damiana has stimulating properties and has been used for
nervousness, weakness, and exhaustion. It has been recommended for increasing
the sperm count in the male, strengthening the ovum in the female, and helping
to balance hormones in women.
Damiana is especially beneficial for revitalizing the
system, and has been used as a mild tonic laxative for children. It has been
said to one of the most popular and safest of plants claimed to restore the
natural sexual capacities and functions.
It was first used by the Mayans of Yucatan. They called it
"mizib-coc," which means "plant for asthma." It was used for all pulmonary
disorders, dizziness, vertigo, and as a general body cleanser.
The active constituents in damiana are: 0.5 - 1.0%
volatile oil from which thymol, a-copaene, o-cadinene, and calamene have been
isolated; a brown amorphous substance; damianin; resins; and gum.
Damiana is low in toxicity factors, but because of
irritant action on the genitourinary tract, it may aggravate preexisting
urinary tract diseases. Caution needs to be taken in such cases. In the West
Indies the tea is taken to discharge the placenta after childbirth. Therefore,
it may be wise to restrict its use during pregnancy.
DRUG PRECAUTIONS AND INTERACTIONS
Known Interactions: None
Possible Interactions: None
Comments: In the absence of other hard data, it may
still be assumed that observable interactions may occur between the many
central nervous system drugs and the psychoactive principles in Damiana.