Generic Name: damiana
Other Names: Mexican damiana, Turnera aphrodisiaca, and Turnera diffusa
Drug Class: Herbals
What is damiana, and what is it used for?
Damiana is an herbal supplement made from the dried leaves and stems of Turnera diffusa, a wild shrub native to Mexico, Central America and the West Indies. Damiana has been traditionally used for varied conditions such as headache, depression, bedwetting, and as a general tonic and aphrodisiac. Damiana is brewed as tea, used to make a liqueur, and also burnt as incense for its pleasant fragrance.
About 35 compounds have been identified in damiana, including flavonoids such as apigenin which have antioxidant properties, and other compounds which may have anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties. There are, however, not many studies on damiana’s safety and efficacy in its purported uses and there is insufficient evidence for any of its supposed benefits.
Some people smoke damiana for a mild euphoria. Smoking herbs generally release tar, ash, and carbon monoxide, and is not recommended. Some of the resins present in damiana are the same that are found in the cannabis plant and can be highly addictive.
Suggested uses of damiana include:
- Damiana may have an estrogen lowering effect. Avoid use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Damiana taken concurrently with anti-diabetic medications can lead to low blood sugar levels. Check with your healthcare provider before using damiana, if you are on medications to treat diabetes.
- Damiana appears to lower sugar levels and may interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using damiana at least 2 weeks before any scheduled surgery.
- Compounds such as tannins and phenolics in damiana may reduce iron absorption. Use with caution if you have iron deficiency.
What are the side effects of damiana?
Typical doses of damiana may not cause side effects. Side effects are unknown because of lack of clinical studies.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:
- Serious heart symptoms include fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness;
- Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady;
- Severe nervous system reaction with very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, and feeling like you might pass out; or
- Serious eye symptoms include blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of damiana?
There is insufficient scientific information on what might be an appropriate range of doses for damiana. Dosage may depend on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. Follow product label directions.
Suggested dosage based on traditional use and product labels:
- One to two teaspoons (2-4 g) of the dried leaves, up to three times per day.
- By drops up to 1 ml (20 drops)/day.
- 1,500-1,600 mg, 2-3 times per day.
- More potent extracts will require lower dosing.
- Damiana use can be addictive and can lead to overdose.
- There are no studies on damiana overdose. Serious adverse effects including convulsions and other symptoms similar to rabies or strychnine poisoning have been reported after ingestion of 200 grams of damiana extract. Treatment may be symptomatic and supportive care.
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What drugs interact with damiana?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Damiana has no known severe, serious or moderate interactions with other drugs.
- Damiana has mild interactions with at least 25 different drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- No reliable information is available on the safety of damiana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Damiana may lower estrogen levels, avoid use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What else should I know about damiana?
- Damiana is possibly safe for most adults when taken orally in small amounts.
- Check with your healthcare provider before taking any supplement, including damiana.
- Take damiana supplements exactly as per label instructions.
- Herbal supplements often contain many ingredients. Check labels for the components in the damiana product you choose.
- Damiana supplements are marketed as herbal supplements and are not regulated by the FDA. Products may differ in formulations and strengths, and labels may not always match contents; exercise caution in choosing your product.
- Store safely out of reach of children.
- In case of overdose, report to Poison Control.
Medically Reviewed on 8/15/2022