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Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Turnera diffusa

Botanical Family:

Passifloraceae (Turneraceae)

Other Common Name:

Mexican damiana, Mexican holly, Old woman’s broom.

Common names in Spanish:

Damiana de California, Damiana de Guerrero, Hierba de la pastora, Pastorcita, Hierba del venado, Oreganillo.

Where is it found?

This aromatic shrub is native to Tropical America, from Mexico to South- America and the Caribbean.

Parts of the plant used:

Mainly the leaves, although the flowers and fruit are sometimes used.

How is it used?

Damiana leaves and stems are steeped in water to make a tea. Currently, various dietary supplements containing damiana leaves are also available as capsules or liquid extracts. Certain liqueurs purportedly contain damiana as a flavoring (Mabberley, 2008; Seidemann, 2005).

What is it used for?

  • Damiana is employed in Mexican traditional medicine as a tea, especially as an aphrodisiac
  • To treat anemia
  •  For anxiety
  • Antibacterial
  • Antidepressant
  • Anti-diabetic
  • Antioxidant
  • Adaptogenic (against stress)
  • To lose weight
  • Antitumor
  • To treat bronchitis
  • For chronic bladder inflammation (cystitis)
  • Against coughs
  • To expel phlegm
  • To lower fever
  • To treat frigidity
  • Against fungal infections
  • To protect the stomach and liver
  • To treat impotence
  • To increase libido
  • As a laxative
  • To relieve pain
  • For colds and other respiratory problems (taken as tea)
  • For skin disorders
  • As a tonic (stimulant)
  • To promote menstruation
  • The leaves are smoked for their potential narcotic effect, similar to that of marihuana
  • Natural compounds found in Damiana leaves may relieve pain when applied topically


Safety / Precautions


  • Avoid ingestion during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Even though various beneficial health effects  have been ascribed to damiana within traditional medicine, more clinical trials are needed to confirm them.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!



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