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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.


 Arbutin  Cyanogenic Acid  Glycosides
 Gonzalitosin-I  Hexacosanol-I  Hydrocyanic Acid
 Resins  Sitosterol  Tannic Acid
 Thymol  Triacontane  Volatile Oils

* For definition of some of the above terms see the dictionary section of this book.


 Chloride  Copper  Potassium
 Sodium  Sulfur  

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Aphrodisiac - any substance which arouses the sexual instinct.

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 flow.

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.

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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.


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.

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