Honey, I’m bringing home damiana! | PostIndependent.com

Honey, I’m bringing home damiana!

A little herbal humor:

“What would you suggest I use as an overall tonic?” the fellow asked the local herbalist. “You know, something to lift my spirits, balance my system and, ah, you know …” He looked around nervously. “Perk up my … you know … sex drive?”

The herbalist thought for a second and announced, “You need damiana.”


“Yup! Damiana should perk you right up.”

The fellow considered it and then turned to walk out the door. “It’s tempting,” he said with a smile, “but I don’t think the wife would go for that kind of thing!”

No, damiana is not a woman, but it is one fine herb with legendary abilities when it comes to its aphrodisiac capabilities. While legend and lore usually don’t have much in common with fact and research when it comes to herbs, in the case of damiana, there’s enough scientific data to show that it lives up to its sexy reputation.

In the name of “science,” dozens of participants agreed to try the herb to see if it tripped their sexual trigger. As I understand it, they left the research study grinning from ear to ear.

Just like ginseng, damiana is considered an overall tonic, toning and strengthening the entire body, including the sexual organs. For men, damiana has been used to increase testosterone levels, alleviate premature ejaculation and relieve impotence. For women, it has the potential of easing frigidity and may increase the chances for conception.

Taken in capsule or tincture form every morning before breakfast from ovulation until menstruation, damiana may help to regulate the menstrual cycle and relieve the symptoms of painful or difficult menstruation. Damiana is also considered an important herb for women during menopause.

Due to damianais sassy reputation, some men worry if they try it, they’ll be up all night … literally. I’d have to say that this possibility depends entirely on your individual chemical make up and how much your imagination plays into it.

Damiana also has the potential of lifting the mental spirits as it feeds the nerve cells with necessary nourishment. It has been known to promote clear thinking, combat nervous exhaustion, curb absentmindedness and sharpen mental acuity.

Many herb books state that damiana is more of a stimulating nerve tonic than a sexual tonic, helping to curb everything from depression to fatigue. And for many people, this is true. When there are signs of fatigue, depression and even appetite loss due to mental and physical overload, damiana can help to soften the edges and “balance” the nerves.

The secret to enjoying the toning, tonic effects of damiana is discovering the proper dosage. You can use 30 to 40 drops of the liquid extract dissolved in several ounces of warm water twice a day or use the dried leaves in a tea (one teaspoon to eight ounces of hot water, steeped for 15 minutes, strained and sipped). The tea is bitter so feel free to add honey.

Either way you prefer damiana, it is best taken between meals. Taking too much of the herb by itself every day for long periods of time can cause insomnia and pounding headaches.

If you want to use it for chronic cases of impotence, frigidity, menopausal problems or nervous conditions, my best advice is to seek out a qualified herbal practitioner who can skillfully create a customized formula that addresses your specific health concerns.

This lusty leaf with the sensuous reputation has what it takes to tingle and tease. And if anyone asks you why you’re taking damiana, simply smile and tell them “science!”

This column is not meant to take the place of your physician, nor is it intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. Pregnant or nursing women should consult their doctor before using herbal therapy.

E-mail your questions to The Humorous Herbalist at writer8@sopris.net

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