Turnera diffusa aphrodisiaca
Turnera aphrodisiaca G.H.Ward
Common Name: Damiana
Photograph by: H. Zell
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Damiana is an aromatic, shrubby perennial growing about 1 metre tall.
The plant is gathered from the wild for use in making teas and herbal medicines. It is sold in local markets and exported to several countries[
C. America - Belize, Guatemala north to Mexico; Caribbean - Cuba, Haiti.
Dry sandy or rocky places[
]. Mostly in dry rocky open places, sometimes on limestone or along
cliffs or in pine-oak forest, at elevations from 500 - 1,950 metres[
The plant is found at low to moderate elevations in the tropics[
]. One report says that this species is hardy to about -5°c[
], though this needs to be treated with some caution considering its native range is entirely tropical[
Requires a dry soil in a warm sunny sheltered position[
The leaves are used as a tea substitute and also as a flavouring in liqueurs[
]. They have a strongly aromatic slightly bitter taste[
Damiana was a traditional aphrodisiac of the Maya people in Central America. It continues to be considered valuable as an aphrodisiac and general tonic, and its stimulant tonic action makes it a valuable remedy for those suffering from mild depression[
The whole plant is a bitter, pungent, warming herb with a fig-like flavour[
]. Its use improves the digestion, lifts the spirits, calms the nerves, regulates hormonal activity, stimulates the genito-urinary tract and rejuvenates kidney energy. It is used internally to treat nervous exhaustion; anxiety; depression; debility in convalescence; impotence; premature ejaculation; prostate complaints; urinary infections; frigidity; vaginal discharge; painful menstruation; menopausal problems; poor appetite and digestion; and atonic constipation[
The plants are harvested when in flower and are dried for later use[
Seed - sow in a nursery seedbed in a lightly shaded position. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on until large enough to plant out.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood.
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