Does Damiana Really Work?

Damiana, a fruit-bearing plant native to the southern United States and Mexico, has been used for natural remedies for centuries. It is not the fruit, however, that provides the benefits, but the dried leaves and branches. The shrub is also used as a flavoring, and is a part of many different foods, beverages and liqueurs. It also makes appearances in herbal blends, though it is available for purchase in capsules, extracts, teas and tinctures.

Benefits:
Of the many supposed benefits of the damiana herb, some of the most popular are its use as an aphrodisiac, energy booster, sexual stimulant, euphoric, stress reliever, potency enhancer and all around panacea. One of the first documented claims about damiana caame in the late 1800s, when a North American pharmacist promoted the alcoholic extract of the herb as a sexual stimulant and tonic for elderly citizens. It dropped out of the public eye until the 1960s, when enthusiasts boasted about its short duration high and enhanced sexual pleasure.

Some more of the folk uses damiana has been used for include for constipation, cough, diabetes, asthma, kidney inflammation, menstrual disorder and headache. Most of these, however, have not been proven and may or may not produce anything more than a placebo effect.

Scientific Testing:
Based on the scientific evidence gathered so far, damiana will produce next to no real effects. None of the ingredients in the herb identified via chemical analysis prove to have any kind of effect on sexual stimulation. Its often suggested that the effects felt were caused by the alcoholic base from which the tonic was made, instead of the components of the plant. Due to this lack of evidence, German and other European health authorities have not approved the plant as a stimulant or a treatment for any ailment. The plant, however, will not cause any harm if ingested, and is perfectly safe for normal use.

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