The ancient peoples of Central America have adored it since time immemorial. The name by which it is known today comes from the ancient Greek daman or damia, which means “to tame, to restrain”. Damiana is wild and unique, but it also has the power to tame and restrain – as if the whole cosmos is contained in one plant, yin and yang in miniature. And that is not a coincidence, because damiana knows how to open the pathway for the arrival of a new life, among other things.
The ancient Maya and Aztecs used it and their descendants still widely use the leaves and stems of this shrubby plant, not only as an aphrodisiac for which it is most popular, but also for relaxation, better digestion, better mood, or simply to enjoy its taste as we enjoy coffee. It is believed that it was part of the original recipe for the well-known Margarita cocktail, while Damiana Margarita is still a very popular cocktail in Mexico. When Europeans became aware of the medicinal properties of this plant, it was soon included in pharmacopoeias, in which it was described as a plant that reduces anxiety, neurosis and depression that reduces sexual function (in Great Britain), and leaves suitable for a tonic that has the ability to ward off excessive mental activity and strengthen weak nerves (in Germany).
FIGHTER AGAINST IMPOTENCE
The Maya and Aztecs had no problems with fertility as they lived in a clean and healthy environment that modern-day humans miss the most. In men, the fast pace of life in an unhealthy and polluted environment most affects their sexual health, leading to impotence, infertility, poor sperm count and motility and spermatorrhoea – sexual dysfunctions that today impair the quality of life of many men. The World Health Organisation has defined what a normal semen sample is: it should contain at least 15 million spermatozoa in one millilitre, of which at least 30 per cent should move progressively.
Oligospermia – a low sperm count, is one of the most common problems faced by couples trying to become parents. Official medicine is trying to solve this problem with strong drugs and invasive procedures, which are unpleasant and often give no results, and in that way only deepen mental problems and the feeling of inadequacy in men. Another problem that couples face, especially those who go through arduous artificial insemination procedures, is a strictly prescribed regime of sexual activity that begins to resemble some kind of imposed obligation and drains mental and physical energy.
DAMIANA REMOVES DEPRESSION
Traditional medicine around the world, from Central America to China, uses damiana as a very powerful therapeutic agent that provides energy, improves blood circulation by bringing oxygen to cells, acts as a mental stimulant and relieves depression, stimulates testosterone secretion which plays a key role in the formation and maturation of sperm, helps to preserve and regenerate male reproductive organs, improves the circulation of body fluids in the genitals, and is also an adaptogen which protects the whole body from infections and particularly protects the urinary and genital tracts. Damiana accelerates the secretion and excretion of urine, stimulates the kidneys to better filter toxins, which has a beneficial effect on the whole body and our mental state. That is why damiana in its Latin, scientific name also contains the word aphrodisiaca – Turnera diffusa var. aphrodisiaca Willd – it is an aphrodisiac that stimulates not only sexual desire, but also our mental energy.
Research involving men has shown that damiana has the ability to enhance erectile function in consecutive intercourse after orgasm, morning erection and erectile stability during intercourse. The full effect of damiana is achieved after several weeks of constant use. Clinical studies conducted on rats have shown that this plant improves libido in tired and slow-moving individuals and that it displays properties common to adaptogens as it strengthens the body and physical strength. Damiana is a true ally of men, but women can also use it, especially in the transition period. The ancient Aztecs even gave it to children, because it is excellent for stomach problems and constipation, headaches, sweating and lethargy.
What is it in damiana that gives it such power? Terpenes from the oil extract of the plant are a strong antioxidant that preserve cellular structures of the body, slow down decay and ageing and protect against infections. Damiana naturally increases the level of nitrogen monoxide, an essential vasodilator, which opens blood vessels. Under normal circumstances, during sexual arousal, the brain sends a signal to the body to increase the production of nitrogen monoxide. This substance relaxes blood vessels and allows free blood flow to the genitals. Apigenin is a flavonoid that reduces anxiety and also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties. Damiana is a natural inhibitor of aromatase – it has the power to block the activity of aromatase enzymes and the abnormal production of oestrogen that can stimulate tumour cells; therefore, it is used in some drugs as therapy for breast cancer in postmenopausal women and in gynecomastia – enlarged breasts – mammary glands in men.
Acacetin is another flavonoid that inhibits oestrogen activity and boosts testosterone function, thus not only helping with sexual dysfunction, but also affecting physical appearance and boosting muscle mass building. A total of 22 flavonoids, which damiana contains, have a wide range of healing properties; among other things, they reduce inflammation, strengthen immunity and prevent neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. Flavonoids have been proven to promote longevity, fitness, endurance, increase blood flow to the brain and thus prevent the decline of cognitive abilities, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Arbutin is a phenolic glycoside that is very beneficial for the kidneys and the urinary tract, it has a diuretic and antiseptic effect and improves general circulation in male sexual organs because it restores capillary pressure and regulates the dynamics of fluid retention.
Damiana has many healing properties that overall have a beneficial impact on the improvement of health and the general quality of life in men, including normal potency. When things start to get out of control and we get the feeling that the ground is slipping under our feet, damiana is there to tame and restrain, restore balance and belief that we are the ones who hold the reins of our own life. That is why Herba Svet has included this powerful plant in its preparation intended for men – Alfa Aktiv.
The following products contain this plant: