Damiana is a shrub native to southern Texas, Central America, South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, it is also known as Turnera diffusa. It belongs to the Passifloraceae family.

Damiana is a tiny, woody shrub that blooms in small, fragrant flowers. It blooms in the early to late summer, and the fruits have a fig-like flavour. Due to the essential oils found in the plant, the shrub is believed to have a distinct spice-like odour similar to chamomile.

Damiana is used as a stimulant, aphrodisiac, diuretic, laxative and to cure diabetes and venereal illnesses in traditional medicine.

Damiana has anxiolytic and antidepressant characteristics, promotes sexual activity, and has hypoglycemic, anti-ulcer, and cytotoxic activities, according to in vitro and animal research. It’s included in the herbal supplement ArginMax, which is advertised to help women with sexual dysfunction. However, the results of investigations on damiana’s estrogenic action are mixed.

Healthy participants lost weight after taking capsules containing a combination of damiana, Yerba Mate, and Guarana.


Damianin, tetraphyllin B, gonzalitosin I, arbutin, tricosan-2-one, acacetin, p-cymene, β-sitosterol, 1,8-cineole, apigenin, α-pinene, β-carotene, β-pinene, tannins, thymol, and hexacosanol are among the compounds found in The genus Turnera has been discovered to include 22 flavonoids, seven cyanogenic glycosides, monoterpenoids, maltol glucoside, phenolics, sesquiterpenoids, triterpenoids, the polyterpene ficaprenol-11, fatty acids, and caffeine.

Damiana’s components have not been discovered for their effects on the entire plant as of 2006. Apigenin may be responsible for Damiana’s anxiolytic effects.

The isolated chemicals pinocembrin and acacetin, as well as the extract from damiana, have been proven to inhibit aromatase activity.

Health Benefits

Despite its long history of usage in folk medicine, few scientific research on damiana for the treatment or prevention of any illness or condition have been conducted. The majority of study on damiana’s effects is restricted to animal and laboratory studies, with conclusions that cannot be transferred consistently to people.

1.Appetite suppressant

Damiana has been investigated as a possible weight-loss supplement. According to a study published in the journal Appetite in 2013, women who were given a herbal formula containing damiana, guarana, yerba maté as well as an inulin-based soluble fermentable fiber 15 minutes before meals ate significantly less food by volume and calories than those who were given a placebo. Those who took the herbs but not the fiber consumed fewer calories as well. The herbal mixture, according to the researchers, caused a significant, short-term drop in hunger.

Damiana, yerba maté, and guarana were found to delay gastric emptying by 20 minutes and reduce the time it took individuals to feel full in a previous research. Subjects who took the supplement everyday before their main meal for 45 days dropped an average of 11 pounds more than those who took the placebo. Those who took the supplement for a year were able to sustain their weight decrease.

While this research suggests that damiana may help with weight loss, the authors of the study couldn’t tell for sure if it reduces hunger on its own. Damiana needs more investigation before it can be suggested as a weight-loss supplement.

2.Improved sexual function

Damiana is frequently touted as a sexual stimulant and aphrodisiac, however there isn’t enough scientific evidence to back it up.

In women with sexual problems who want to improve their sex lives, research suggests that taking a specific combination product containing damiana, L-arginine, ginkgo, minerals (ArginMax), vitamins, and American ginseng, Panax ginseng, minerals (ArginMax) may improve sexual satisfaction, increase orgasm frequency, and reduce vaginal dryness.


Damiana demonstrated a clear anti-anxiety impact in numerous animal trials, equivalent to diazepam (Valium). It also didn’t have a detrimental impact on motor abilities, causing sluggishness, nor did it injure the organs.

Apigenin is the main molecule responsible for this benefit.

It’s vital to keep in mind that potency varies per product. In comparison to standardized supplements, homoeopathic medicines will have no or few active ingredients. Three distinct homoeopathic manufacturers’ tinctures were utilized in one investigation on anti-anxiety benefits. They discovered that the dose required to have the same effect varied considerably.


Damiana reduced blood sugar levels in rabbits who had experienced a spike in blood sugar.

In diabetic mice, a chemical derived from damiana reduced blood sugar levels in both those who could and couldn’t produce insulin. To provide a comparison, persons with type 2 diabetes can typically produce enough insulin (they simply don’t respond to it), but those with type 1 diabetes can’t. Damiana may thus aid blood sugar control in people with both kinds of diabetes.

However, damiana’s capacity to decrease blood sugar has been questioned in two additional animal experiments. One study found that its antioxidants protect kidneys from damage caused by high blood sugar, indicating that it has a better potential for reducing diabetic complications.

But what may have produced the discrepancies in the results? The answer might be found in the extraction procedure. Specific water or alcohol extracts reduced blood sugar levels, but not in combination. Researchers may have a long way to go before finding a viable technique to utilize this plant to regulate blood sugar levels.

Damiana in cancer

Many of the medicines used in cancer treatment are either plant-derived chemicals or semi-synthetic derivatives of those substances. As a result, it is critical to continue searching for plants that contain antitumor chemicals or precursors.

The methanolic extract (TdM) of T. diffusa had a significant cytotoxic impact on MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells in this study, but had a weaker effect (as shown by greater IC50 values) on the other cancer cell lines tested. The different types of cells and cellular receptors are to blame for the differences in activity. MDA-MB-231 cells, for example, exclusively express epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor alpha. T-47D cells, on the other hand, express calcitonin, prolactin, glucocorticoids, androgen, progesterone, and oestrogen receptors. Furthermore, while both MDA-MB-231 and T-47D cells came from a pleural effusion metastasis, the former came from breast adenocarcinoma and the latter from ductal carcinoma (ATCC).

For an extract to be considered active, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has developed the IC5030 g/mL criteria. TdM had this degree of cytotoxic activity for MDA-MB-231 cells (IC50=30.673.5 g/mL), but had a lower effect on the other cancer cell lines examined. TdM’s IC50 with normal fibroblasts was 63.24 g/mL, indicating that this action was selective.

The two fractions with the most activity, F3 and F4, were identified using an activity-guided fractionation procedure. Arbutin and apigenin were separated from F3, while arbutin and apigenin were isolated from F4. The cytotoxic activity of the later fraction was the best. T. diffusa has already been linked to both of these substances.

Mechanism of Action

Damiana’s anti-ulcer properties are thought to be related to arbutin, its main component, which inhibits lipid peroxidation, modulates immune function, and has antioxidant properties. A damiana extract, as well as pinocembrin and acacetin, chemicals produced from the plant, inhibited aromatase activity in additional experiments. Other substances with estrogenic action included apigenin 7-glucoside, Z-echinacin, and pinocembrin. The nitric oxide pathway was shown to be involved in damiana’s pro-sexual activity, with the herb’s anxiolytic properties likely to contribute to such effects.


Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is insufficient credible evidence on the safety of consuming damiana while pregnant or nursing. To be safe, avoid using it.

Diabetes: Damiana may have an effect on blood sugar levels in diabetics. If you have diabetes and take damiana, keep an eye out for indications of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and closely monitor your blood sugar levels.

Damiana may influence blood sugar levels in persons with diabetes. Damiana appears to impact blood glucose levels, thus it’s possible that it might affect blood glucose management before and after surgery. Damiana should be stopped at least two weeks before a scheduled operation.


Damiana is a shrub native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. It’s used as a diuretic, laxative, stimulant, aphrodisiac, and to cure diabetes and venereal problems in traditional medicine. Damiana has been shown in animal research to lower anxiety and alter sexual behaviour, but no human evidence exists. Damiana hasn’t been tested in cancer patients either.

The stimulating effects of Damiana are controversial. It has not been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of cancer in people.

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