What is Damiana Extract?
The name “damiana extract” might not sound familiar, but its supposed ability to reduce anxiety and increase sexual performance would make it appealing for a vast number of people. But what is damiana exactly?
Damiana, also known as turnera diffusa, is a herb, found mostly in the West Indies, Mexico, the Caribbean, Texas, southern Africa, and Central America. This perennial plant can grow up to two yards tall, with clustered leaves and yellow flowers (x). Damiana also has some colorful and fun names, including Old Woman’s Broom, Herba de la Pastora, and Turnera aphrodisiaca (x). The plant grows pretty yellow flowers, but the leaves are where damiana’s power lies (x).
It has been used for centuries to treat a variety of problems, including headaches, anxiety, diabetes, and depression. Most famously, it has even been used as an aphrodisiac to increase sexual desire (x). In Mexico, damiana extract is sometimes steeped in tequila to make an aphrodisiac liquor that reportedly enhances lovemaking (x).
Please keep in mind that damiana extract does not thoroughly cure or treat any disease or illness. Any medical use of damiana extract or damiana supplements should be approved by a doctor first.
What is Damiana Extract Used For?
Damiana uses have gone back centuries: back to the Mayans’ use of it as an aphrodisiac (x). The damiana herb has been believed to relieve not just sexual problems and anxiety, but also weight loss and bedwetting. Some sources claim that damiana benefits might include boosting mental stamina. But evidence on whether it actually works for these ailments is inefficient (x).
For centuries, damiana extract has been a go-to aphrodisiac, as well as a treatment for increasing and prolonging sexual desire. It supposedly increases blood flow to the genitals and reduces stress, the biggest sex drive killer (x).
A 2012 study from the Laboratorio de Fitofarmacología in Mexico City looked at the effects of damiana extract on sexually sluggish rats. After being administered 10 mg of turnera diffusa, the rats’ sexual behavior was increased by shortening their ejaculation latency. These treatments also pushed the number of discharges in the rats’ ejaculatory motor patterns. Such results support the idea of turnera diffusa having pro-sexual effects (x).
This same lab performed another study in 2009, which looked at the effects of turnera diffusa on sexually exhausted rats by dosing them with 80 mg. This dosage allowed a significant percentage of the rats to achieve a first ejaculatory series and then resume a second one. A shorter ejaculatory interval was another result of this dosage, suggesting that turnera diffusa might help alleviate sexual dysfunction (x).
Although many animal studies support the notion that damiana extract can increase libido, human studies supporting that notion are lacking.
Antioxidant Properties that Fight Diabetes and Infections
Damina extract can help lower blood sugar, similar to diabetes medications. But more importantly, damiana might contain antioxidative properties that lower oxidative stress.
During normal chemical reactions in the body, cells give off extra oxygen. If left unchecked, these extra stores can build up and cause problems. Antioxidants target these extra stores and destroy them, lowering oxidative stress and preventing cell damage.
Besides diabetes, antioxidants can also fight against inflammatory diseases and infections. One flavonoid (an antioxidative chemical component found in fruits and vegetables) that has been isolated in damiana is pinocembrin. It has been well-researched to find antiinflammatory and anticancer properties (x).
A 2018 study from the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste in Mexico City studied the effects of turnera diffusa extracts on the kidney mitochondria in diabetic rats. Damiana lowered the nitric oxide levels in these rats’ kidneys, but it did not reverse the excess levels of body glucose. These results suggest that while damiana extract might not reverse diabetes, it might still contain antioxidative properties (x).
Anxiety and Depression
Clinical studies have linked damiana extract to reducing anxiety and depression.
A 2005 study from the University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences evaluated different extracts of turnera diffusa in mice using a maze. The methanol extract, with a 25 mg dosage, showed the best anti-anxiety results of all the extracts tested (x).
Another 2005 study from the same institute performed a similar experiment. Dried tinctures of turnera diffusa were evaluated for their anti-anxiety properties in various doses, such as 50, 75, 100, 125, or 150 mg in mice. The results yielded two conclusions: one, that flavonoids, alkaloids, cyanogenic glycosides, carbohydrates, proteins, and other active chemical components were found in damiana; and second, that these chemical components cause the anti-anxiety activity found within damiana (x).
Damiana vs. Kava
Similar to damiana extract, kava is another herb used to induce relaxation. In fact, Pacific islanders have often used it in ceremonies for that purpose, though more people today use it as a supplement for anxiety. It can be consumed as a tablet, a leaf, or as an extract.
However, clinical research has linked overdosages of kava to severe liver disease, and mixed dosages and usages have led to mixed results about its usefulness (x). Kava leaves can even be smoked, similar to cannabis, and the production or selling of kava has been banned in some countries.
For the most part, if used responsibly, kava can have pleasant, non-harmful effects. A 2003 study suggested that, when compared to a placebo, kava could slightly reduce anxiety with no adverse effects (x). However, irresponsible use or overdosage of kava has led to other health problems, like indigestion, weight loss, and nausea (x).
Both damiana and kava have similar chemical makeups, with many of the same constituents. Kava contains a group of eighteen kavalactones, or lactones found in the kava shrub, that have sedative properties. These kavalactones are under study for their supposed anxiolytic properties, which help to inhibit chemical reactions that produce anxiety (x).
How to Take Damiana Extract
Damiana extract can be taken by mouth, as a dried leaf, powder, tincture, or a liquid extract (x). The appropriate damiana dosage depends on a variety of factors, such as age and general health. Serious side effects, such as convulsions, have been reported after a dosage of 200 mg (x). That said, there are no established dosages for all forms, so all patients, regardless of their general health conditions, are encouraged to follow package directions.
If a patient is going to consume damiana as a leaf, the classic dosage is about 2 g (x). The average person is allowed to drink about 750 ml (about three cups) of damiana tea brewed from 1 g of the damiana leaf. In tincture form, ½-¾ teaspoon (2-3 ml) can be consumed three times a day. Damiana tablets or capsules can be consumed three times a day, with 400-800 mg consumed overall (x).
In terms of taste, the extract can be bitter. If a patient wishes, they can mix a damiana tea with other sweeter teas to make it taste better, and some damiana teas already come mixed with other flavors to offset the bitterness.
Possible Side Effects of Damiana Extract
Although there is no widely recommended dosage for damiana extract, it has been consumed for years without too many serious side effects. That said, there are some side effects for heavier damiana dosages.
- Lowered blood sugar
Warnings and Safety Precautions
There is not enough reliable information about whether damiana extract negatively affects an unborn fetus or a breastfeeding mother. In that case, it’s best not to consume damiana extract if the patient is breastfeeding or expecting.
Damiana extract might also affect blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. Medications for diabetes also help to lower blood sugar, so taking damiana extract as well might lower blood sugar levels too much. Patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should continue to monitor their blood sugar levels if they consume damiana extract (x).
Whatever the patient’s reason for taking damiana extract, talking to a doctor or other healthcare provider is highly recommended, especially when the patient has other medical conditions.
Where to Buy Damiana Extract
You can purchase damiana extract supplements at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other brands that distribute food and other supplement products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.
Are you interested in testing damiana extract for improved sexual performance and anxiety relief? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
Damiana extract’s appeal lies in being able to increase sexual libido and decrease anxiety. Although human studies in these capabilities are lacking, its use across history has proven its lasting value. That said, to avoid more adverse side effects, patients should be careful about consuming too much at one time, and always follow the directions on packages. Patients expecting children or that have diabetes should also exercise caution.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
By Stephanie Anderson