Damiana is a shrub native to South and Central America as well as parts of Mexico. The main damiana benefits that have made it such a widely sought-after supplement include higher libido, increased fertility, and improvement in overall sexual health. Other non-sexual benefits include its anti-anxiety and anti-depressant qualities.
With its growing popularity as an herbal supplement, damiana production has become increasingly common in Latin America and Mexico. The plants are raised on large farms and harvested for their leaves, where damiana's beneficial components are most highly concentrated. Historically, the leaves were used raw and either chewed on or used to make teas. For more potent results, the leaves were also dried and smoked. The more common modern supplements are made from dried leaves, which are powdered and sold in pill form or blended into beverages and liqueurs.
Long viewed as an aphrodisiac, the plant in pill or liquid form is said to have several positive sexual benefits. In males, damiana benefits include an increase in libido resulting in significantly higher sex drives, as well as an increase in the intensity and satisfaction levels of the sexual act itself. Many men also claim the supplement can help them sexually perform on a more frequent basis.
In women, the same increased libido is reported, although it tends to be driven more by the increase in the pleasurable nature of the act rather than simply an increased sex drive or desire for intercourse. As a result of both the anti-anxiety and aphrodisiac aspects of damiana, it is also believed to reduce the tension and nervousness that may prevent the female climax. The supplement can also help to alleviate menstrual side effects and reduce the occurrence of vaginal dryness.
The other significant damiana benefits that are not related to sexual wellness tend to focus on overall mental well-being. These include damiana's natural ability to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve mood and lessen the side effects of depression. Many believe these effects are similar to the aphrodisiac properties, as they all tend to relate to areas of physical and mental enjoyment. While some cultures still tend to prefer the more psychoactive damiana benefits, relying on the traditional method of smoking the leaves to produce an effect, this practice is somewhat rare and often limited to specific cultures or regions.