Damiana is a spontaneous herbaceous plant with aphrodisiac and beneficial properties that can be grown as an ornamental indoor plant in regions with a harsh winter climate and in garden beds in those with a mild climate.
General characteristics of the widespread Damiana-Turnera
La Damiana, scientific name, Turnera widespread, is a herbaceous plant of the family of Turneraceae (Passifloraceae) widespread in the rustic state in Mexico, Texas, the Caribbean and South America.
The plant, in full vegetative vigor, forms an evergreen shrub, about 80-90 centimeters high, composed of a fairly robust rhizomatous root from which branched stems covered with thin and sparse hair develop.
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The leaves of the damiana are oval-lanceolate with pointed apexes and serrated margins. The upper page is glossy and deep green in color while the lower one is opaque and pale green. The leaves are slightly aromatic in fact they give off a pleasant scent reminiscent of chamomile due to the presence of vegetable oils.
THE flowers reminiscent of those of Vinca, they are pleasantly scented, solitary with corolla composed of 5 lobed petals with slightly toothed edges of bright yellow color.
THE fruits they are small resinous berries with a globular shape and like the leaves and flowers they too are intensely aromatic.
The damiana blooms in summer from the end of June until September.
Cultivation of Damiana
Like other tropical plants, damiana also loves sunny exposure, very bright and sheltered from cold air currents. If grown outdoors in areas where the winter temperature is below 0 ° C, the plant loses the aerial part that will normally re-emerge in the following spring if the root has been protected during the winter.
Drops In Climate Areas Fill a pot with regular potting soil up to ¾ inch full. Place the young damiana seedling in the pot and continue filling the pot until the roots are covered with soil. Leave ¼ inch of space between the soil and the edge to allow for irrigation.
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Although damiana is very drought tolerant, it should be watered constantly when the soil is completely dry. Water the plant thoroughly and place it near a window that receives full sunlight. Mulch the roots of the plant in early fall. Despite the fact that damiana is a tropical plant, it is usually hardy to USDA zone 9, or around 23 degrees F. Although cold weather can damage the top of the plant, the rootstock will normally sprout again in spring if it has been well insulated. during the winter.
The soil of the damiana cultivated for ornamental purposes should be enriched every 15-20 days with a specific liquid fertilizer for green flowering plants diluted in the watering water. Alternatively, every 2 months, a slow release granular fertilizer can be administered at a distance of 5 cm from the collar of the plant.
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Damiana: cultivation in pots
As mentioned earlier, damiana can be grown as a houseplant near a window and in direct sunlight. The pot must have the right size to ensure the space necessary for the growth of the root and the development of the aerial part.
The soil must be loose, fresh, moist but well drained to avoid the onset of dangerous fungal diseases.
Watering should be done regularly when the soil is dry, more frequently from May to the end of August and reduced during the winter months.
In summer, the plant can be taken outdoors in a sunny place but sheltered from the winds and moved back into the house as soon as the temperature begins to drop, in late summer.
The Turnera should be repotted when the secondary or adventitious roots come out of the irrigation water drainage holes. A larger pot is chosen, new soil mixed with sand, fresh and fertile.
Planting or planting
The damiana is planted directly in the home when the danger of night frosts is definitively averted and if it has been raised for at least 1 year in a greenhouse or other protected environment. If it is too small it has difficulty adapting outdoors especially if the climate is not suitable for its growth.
Collection and storage of leaves
Damiana leaves are harvested in the summer when the plant is still in bloom. They are air-dried in a dry and well-ventilated place and stored closed in airtight jars or paper bags.
Multiplication of Damiana
In nature the plant reproduces by seed and by vegetative way it can be propagated through apical cuttings 15-18 cm long taken from vigorous and healthy stems that are put to root in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, kept humid until the appearance of new leaves.
In spring, to favor the regrowth of new shoots, a light pruning of the old stems can be carried out using a disinfected and well-sharpened tool.
Parasites and diseases of the Damiana
It is a plant sensitive to root rot if the cultivation soil is too compact and poorly draining, the plant suffers from root rot. Wet leaves could get sick with white sore or powdery mildew a pathogenic fungus that manifests itself with whitish powdery deposits on the upper page.
Cures and treatments
In autumn, the root system of damiana grown outdoors in the garden should be protected from cold and night frosts with a mulch of straw. To avoid the onset of root rot, it is advisable not to leave the drainage water in the saucer.
Property of Damiana
Damiana, in particular Turnera aphrodisiaca, is a herbaceous plant that has been used in folk medicine since ancient times for its aphrodisiac powers. Established scientific studies believe it to be a natural stimulant of men’s sexual desire, an excellent natural remedy against impotence and premature ejaculation, very effective in increasing women’s fertility, fighting fatigue and improving physical strength. On men, the effectiveness translates into an increase in the production of testosterone, the hormone responsible for the development of sexual characteristics, spermatogenesis in the seminiferous tubules, an increase in muscle mass and physical well-being in general.
Uses of Damiana
The leaves of the damiana are rich in tannins, an essential oil, a dark and bitter extract called damianina and also of arbutin, a glycoside with an antimicrobial and disinfectant function of the urinary tract. Thanks to these active ingredients, the leaves are widely used for therapeutic purposes to prepare relaxing infusions and pesticides, laxatives, diuretics, expectorants and cough suppressants.
In Mexico, damiana is also called Mexican tea, because with its leaves collected in summer, they are used by the natives to prepare a relaxing, gastroprotective, diuretic and laxative infusion and the famous Damiana Guaycura, a relaxing and above all aphrodisiac liqueur that is consumed alone or used as an ingredient in a variety of mixed drinks.
Damiana on the market
On the market there are dried leaves and more commonly, capsules and tablets.
When to take damiana?
Damiana is generally taken in the presence of urinary tract infections, in cases of incontinence and also in cases of phlegm and fat cough.
It is not a poisonous plant despite having a low toxicity index.
Damina should be taken in moderation and always after consulting your doctor as it could also have side effects.
It can give allergy in subjects sensitive to some of its components, cause headaches or diarrhea. It can interact with drugs taken to control blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, it should not be taken with antidepressants or sleeping pills, as it could amplify their effect.
The scientific name Turnera is in honor of William Turner, the first scholar who studied its characteristics and properties.