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Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



DAMIANA
TURNERACEAE
aka Mexican Damiana
(Turnera diffusa var. aphrodisiaca syn Turnera aphrodisiaca)
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FYI Aromatic, shrubby perennial to 3 feet tall to 2 feet wide which is native to the tropical Americas, namely Central America, the northern parts of South America, and the southern parts of North America. LEAVES are a light green to yellowish-brown, obovate, toothed and about 1 inch long. FLOWERS are a yellow-orange with 5 petals, 1/2 inch long, appearing in summer. FRUITS are globose, aromatic, and 3-valved, growing to about 3/4 of an inch across and containing many, tiny pear-shaped seeds. Said to have a fig-like taste.

Damiana first appeared on the American medicine scene in 1874 when a Washington DC pharmacist began to sell the tincture as an aphrodisiac and tonic for the debilities of aging. It was soon discovered to be a fraud in regard to sexual potency and was withdrawn, although there are still those who continue to make that claim.

Astrologically ruled by Pluto §
CONTAINS: Damianin, volatile oil, cineole, pinene, thymol, resin, tannin, alkaloids, arbutin, gum, hydrocyanic glycoside, sucrose, glucose, chlorophyllins, starch, 79% water when fresh, 6.8% water when air dried.
BASED ON ZERO MOISTURE per 100 GRAMS, the LEAF CONTAINS: 60.5 mg aluminum, 9.0% ash, 1,810 mg calcium, 0.31 mg chromium, 1.29 mg cobalt, 8.8 mg iron, 204 mg magnesium, 0.54 mg manganese, 10.2 mg niacin, 115 mg phosphorus, 776 mg potassium, 12.7% protein, trace mg riboflavin, 0.070 mg selenium, 0.41 mg silicon, 5.80 mg sodium, 0.18 mg thiamine, 1.1 mg tin, 11,899 IU vitamin A, 98.3 mg vitamin C, 0.37 mg zinc.
PROPAGATION By SEED in spring; by DIVISION in spring or autumn; by CUTTINGS in summer.
NEEDS Hardy to 23ºF. Grown as a crop in dry soil in full sun. Cut back in early spring.
HARVEST Whole plant while in flower.
PART USED Leaf
FORM Infusion, liquid extract, tablet, compound mixtures.
USES
MEDICINAL:
Bitter, pungent, spicy, warming, digestive aid, antidepressive, nervine, regulates hormone function, genito-urinary tract stimulant, urinary antiseptic, laxative, kidney rejuvenative, diuretic, blood purifier, expectorant, aphrodisiac, tonic (to balance the central nervous system and hormonal system); affects kidneys. Often combined in equal parts with Saw Palmetto berries.
Has been used for nervous exhaustion, anxiety, depression (2.5 ml of the tincture, 3 times daily or 3 cups of the infusion), nerves, debility in convalescence, impotence, premature ejaculation, prostate problems, frigidity, infertility, vaginal discharge, painful menstruation, menopausal problems, hormone balance, hot flashes, urinary infections, bed wetting, nephritis, chronic cystic catarrh, renal catarrh, poor appetite, digestive problems, atonic constipation, mild paralysis, bronchitis, coughs, irritable coughs, colds, emphysema, exhaustion, Parkinson's disease, headache. Has also been used to boost and maintain mental and physical capacity (especially when overexerting/overworking).
Has been combined with Serenoa repens as a tonic for sexual problems with a neurotic nature; with Avena sativa for depression; with Scutellaria lateriflora or Stachys officinalis for anxiety.
Has been utilized by Mexican women as an aphrodisiac by drinking 1 cup of the infusion an hour before intercourse. The volatile oil is mildly irritating and is said to excite the genitalia when urinated; has also been used as a douche to increase sexual pleasure.
Has been said to act as a nervine and to produce mild euphoria upto 1½ hours.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
♦ Limited to 10 days use.
POWDER = 3 to 6 grains, 3 times daily, before meals
FRESH LEAF = 2 tsp per day
DRIED LEAF = 1 tsp (1.0 g) per day
INFUSION = 1/2 to 1 tsp dried herb to 1 cup hot water; steep 10 to 15 minutes; taken 1 to 2 cups daily when cold a mouthful at a time.
TINCTURE = 1 oz (30 g) dried leaf combined with 8 oz (240 ml) 100-proof vodka; allow to sit for 2 weeks, shaking daily, then strain and bottle in amber tincture bottle. Taken 10 to 20 drops, 3 times daily in liquid.

HOMEOPATHIC:
Used for amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, fatigue, impotence, leucorrhea, migraine, prostate problems, spermatorrhea, sterility, incontinence, female sexual disorders.
OTHER:
Used to flavor liqueurs and cordials.
The leaves have been drunk as tea or smoke like tobacco to produce a relaxed state, espcially before rituals of Earth religions in which this practice is believed to increase psychic ability and clairvoyance. It is also practice to store a bit of the herb with a piece of quartz. Similarly, quartz crystal is said to be protected by Damiana oil.

©2001 & 2006 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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