Damiana is a shrub native to Central America, South America and the West Indies. The leaves were traditionally made into tea, which was used, by the Mayans and other natives in Central and South America as an aphrodisiac. Spanish missionaries recorded that Mexican Indians drank Damiana tea mixed with sugar to enhance lovemaking. BR>
Mexican folklore claims that Damiana was used in the first margarita. This particular drink is popular in the Los Cabos region of Mexico. It is said that Damiana has a synergistic effect with Passionflower: when these two are smoked or drank together, the effect is very relaxing and promotes lucid dreaming.
Medicinally, it is said to help with energy, emphysema, low estrogen, frigidity, hot flashes, impotency, infertility, menopause, Parkinsonís disease, PMS, inflammation of prostate, Lou Gehrigís disease and to strengthen the reproductive organs for both males and females.
Damianaís stimulant tonic action makes it maybe helpful in depression. It can also be used for nervous exhaustion, anxiety and debility in convalescence.
The chemical composition of damiana is complex and all of the components have not been completely identified. However, the known make-up is 0.5-1% volatile oil, flavonoids, gonzalitosin, arbutin, tannin and damianin (a brown bitter substance). It also contains essential oils (containing cineol, cymol, pinene), cyanogenic glycosides, thymol and trace amounts of phosphorus.