Family: Passifloraceae (The Passionflower Family) or Turneraceae
Deities: Oya, Oshun, Mary Magdalene, Hera, Hecate, Isis, Pomba Gira, Asherah
Damiana whispers gently “Let me help you rekindle that inner fire of desire.”
Damiana, Turnera diffusa, is a small shrub (usually less than 2m tall) that grows in Baja California to South Texas throughout Mexico down to Central America and in the Caribbean. It produces bright yellow flowers and fig-like edible fruit. Leaves are harvested while the plant is in flower. This plant is part of the Turneraceae family, which is closely related to, and sometimes included in, the Passifloraceae family.
Historically, authors report that Damiana used as an aphrodisiac and an herbal medicine by the ancient Maya. For example, there is evidence that Damiana was used by the Guaycura native peoples in religious services in the Baja, Mexico region. Damiana based liqueurs, including Agavero and Guaycura Liqueur de Damiana, are popular in Mexico.
Damiana is a nervine, sedative, digestive stimulant, and an aphrodisiac. The dried leaves are used to calm the overactive mind and stressed out nervous system. It also stimulates blood circulation, the digestive system, as a bitter. It can also be used to stimulate menstrual flow and help ease menstrual cramping. As a diuretic and antiseptic, damiana may be used for cystitis. It is commonly found in alcohol based preparations and in smoking blends.
Many sources claim that damiana is an aphrodisiac. Many women that have received damiana to do report increased feelings of sexual arousal however, I have yet had a single man report any such activity. Damiana can be given in multiple forms but when she seems to shine when you put a tablespoon of the tincture into a glass of red wine. One male client did report back that damiana made him so mentally focused that he had trouble falling asleep. A female client explained that she thought damiana was useful as an aphrodisiac when sexual arousal wasn’t the central issue. For example, when someone was feeling so stressed out that sex was the last thing on their mind.
Damiana is a powerful healer, especially for women. This wonderfully aromatic shrub seems to re-ignite the lost inner fire. I have seen damiana completely shift the energy in a room when a bunch of mostly female students tried a Damiana-chocolate elixir. Almost instantaneously we went from a group of stressed out students to ladies night at the club.
On a deeper level, damiana facilitates a return to self, not in a narcissistic way but in a personal gnosis “know thyself” manner. You cannot continue to give everything of yourself away to your family, your job, all of your commitments, and expect to have anything left at the end of the day. This plant seems to call you back to your own center. This plant has strong goddess connections. For instance, Damiana seems to be connected to the Brazilian Goddess, the Pomba Gira. A complicated, multi-faced deity of love and sex, strength and desire, the Pomba Gira also directs us to our own center. Mary Magdalene also seems to be of a similar frequency as damiana, as does the Hebrew/Canaanite goddess, Asherah.
The symbol that was received for this powerful plant is a new growth bud. The old material is being split by the new growth emerging. Visualize light emanating from the top of the new bud. If the symbol is drawn using both hands starting at the bottom first, completing the stylized “M”, then drawing the new bud up from the bottom, the symbol activates a very balanced, warming energy. One client, who had already been introduced to damiana, reported that during a bout of extremely painful menstrual cramps, simply meditating on damiana’s symbol brought her relief.