Turnera Diffusa or damiana is a shrub with aromatic flowers found commonly in Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The shrub is also known as old woman’s broom or herba de la pastora. Traditionally, damiana has been in use across many cultures as an aphrodisiac. Although this herb does have this property, there are also many more benefits that damiana has to offer, especially to older people.
The Mexican Connection
Missionaries from Spain recorded that Mexican Indians used damiana in liquid form as an aphrodisiac. Damiana tea does have some significant effect in boosting sexual energies and this has been proven by scientific research too. It is an important component in the making of traditional Mexican liqueur. Both the Turnera aphrodisiaca and Turnera diffusa, the two varieties of damiana have bee in use in Mexico since the times of the Mayan civilization.
A Wellness Tonic for the Elderly
Other than its aphrodisiac properties, damiana also improves general wellness, which makes it a wonderful tonic for older people. It improves oxygen supply to specific areas of the human body and induces a feeling of being energized. It also has some strengthening effect on the entire nervous system and is used as a nerve tonic.
For those elderly people who suffer from anxiety and depression, a course of treatment using damiana is found extremely beneficial. In central and south America, damiana leaves are often made into a tea that is taken to soothe the nerves or calm an overanxious mind. The incense made from this plant is also found to have relaxing effects. For those with nervous problems, damiana offers a natural, no side effect cure. The chemical damianin which is found in this plant is responsible for these benefits.
Helps Treat Renal Problems
Renal problems and infections of the urinary tract are some other problems commonly faced by older people. Damiana has been found very effective in treating irritation of the urinary passage. The herb also subdues the response of the nervous system to such irritations, thus curbing the symptoms that the patient experiences. The herb stimulates the intestinal tract and thus also has a part to play in improving digestive processes. In the elderly, damiana is often used as a remedy for incontinence and related problems. Among young patients, damiana is used to control bed wetting.
Cure for Insomnia
Insomnia is a common problem for the older generation that often impairs their quality of life. Lack of proper sleep leaves one feeling lethargic and run down the following day with no energy to expend even in regular day to day activities. Many herbalists use damiana with good results in combating insomnia. Damiana incense is found to relax the body and mind, leading one to sleep better. Tea made from the extracts of damiana leaves also have a good effect on insomnia.
In addition to these uses, damiana is also used to relieve the aches associated with rheumatism, irregular menstruation, migraines and stomach problems. It is because of its many beneficial properties that the ancient people of Mexico called this herb the ‘mizib coc’ or that which blows the bad wind away from the body.
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