Damiana is an herb of the New World, native to Mexico and southern parts of the United States.The first mention of this interesting herb reached the western world via the chronicles of the Spanish missionary Jesus Maria de Salvatierra in 1699. The indigenous people of Mexico had long been familiar with the herb's properties by the time de Salvatierra recorded them. He mentions that Damiana enjoyed a widespread reputation as a potent and popular aphrodisiac, which is what Damiana is most famous for today. As an aphrodisiac it has gained some fame - it is included in many potency enhancing formulae and in Mexico it is frequently dispensed in the form of a herbal liqueur, which is prepared by steeping the herb along with certain spices such as vanilla, galangal, cinnamon and pimento berries and honey in rum for a period of about two weeks. Various recipes exist and even commercial brews are available, which are said to be particularly favoured in mixed drinks such as Margaritas. But the Mayans and other Central American natives also used this herb for a range of other conditions, which modern herbalism tends to neglect.
Damiana is an excellent nervous system tonic, which tones and relaxes tense nerves. It is also and excellent anti-spasmodic. In Mexican folk-healing it is often used to regulate painful menstruation for which it is said to be very effective. It can also be used in cases of headaches, especially tension headaches, anxiety, mild to moderate cases of depression and insomnia. One of its Mayan folk names is 'asthma-sweep', referring to its excellent power of alleviating and 'sweeping out' asthma attacks. Damiana is also an effective diuretic and urinary antiseptic that can be used in cases of urethritis, and cystitis. It is a mild laxative and can be used in cases of constipation marked by lack of intestinal muscle tone. Above all though, Damiana is an effective aphrodisiac tonic that can enhance sexual performance and increase libido in both men and women.
Damiana can be used in sex magic and tantric rituals. It is often included in charms and potions for love and lust. It can be useful for meditation and help switch off the inner chatterbox.
Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children, or if you are unwell, or taking any medication. If in doubt, please ask a medical herbalist or healthcare practitioner.