By Kris Vaughan, CH
I am a lover of the sensual things. I feel strongly that happy relationships have deep intimacy and fun romantic times. The reality though is that life tends to make us too busy to slow down and focus on this aspect of our relationship and we begin to lose desire. Most often the busy mind gets in the way; but there is a fabulous little herb that has been known for centuries for just this purpose. I recently finished an herbal extract of Damiana (Turnera diffusa) and it is so good that I had to share with you why I chose to make this extract.
Damiana leaf had traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac by the Mayan people. The contemporary people of Central America still rely on damiana today for its usefulness in supporting a healthy libido. It has been well known among southwestern cultures as a sexuality tonic because the stimulation of the herb brings oxygen to the genital area. Damiana also increases energy levels; most often libido is low when we just have no excess energy to expend.
The action of damiana lies mostly in its ability to act as a tonic and restorative for the nervous system. You may find damiana as an ingredient in many nervous system formulas for anxiety and depression. It has also been used for normalizing gastrointestinal function as it has mildly laxative properties.
Damiana has a dual effect. It can work quickly to stimulate the genital area by enriching the oxygen supply. Long-term use can improve sexual fitness and performance. Traditionally damiana was known as a men’s herb used for premature ejaculation and impotence. However, herbalists know this herb to be highly beneficial for women as well. This herb brings about desire and invites the mind to relax and “go with the flow.” This is helpful for busy people who can’t seem to get out of their head long enough to enjoy a sexual experience. It has also been proven to help women achieve the ability to orgasm due to the quieting of the mind.
Different preparations can be made from the leaves of the damiana herb. You can take it in the form of an herbal tea (1 tablespoon to 6oz boiled water, steeped covered for 15 minutes), capsules (400-800mg), a tincture (3ml, three times a day) or it can even be smoked like tobacco; the use of any of these will induce a relaxed state of mind in the individual using them. When smoked, the herb will induce a subtle kind of high tinged with sexual overtones, and the effect is said to be a little reminiscent of the effects of smoking marijuana. Women are supposed to be much more highly effected by damiana, especially when they use it over a long period of time. Damiana is not normally used alone; it has the best effect when paired with other herbs that have similar or complimentary actions in the body.
It is important to seek the guidance of an herbalist such as myself that has experience with damiana and its effects as well as the ability to help you get to the root cause of your dimished libido. A truly balanced and effective approach comes not just from using herbs, but from creating a lifestyle that supports a healthy sex drive.
Side effects & cautions
A mild sensation of euphoria is sometimes believed to be induced in a person using higher doses of damiana. Consumption of the herbal leaves is known to have a minor laxative effect, higher intakes of the herbal leaves may have a stronger laxative action, and the use of extremely high doses of the herbal remedy may cause the stools to loosen considerably.
Schedule a consultation with an herbalist in our Wellness Clinic for personalized strategies.
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