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What are the Most Common Damiana Side Effects?

By Laura A.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Damiana is an herbal remedy that is often used as an aphrodisiac. Some of the most common damiana side effects are mood swings, indigestion, nausea, low blood sugar and hormonal changes. This herb is generally considered safe but larger doses can increase the risk of problems.

The scientific name for damiana is Turnera diffusa. This plant is native to Mexico and has been used for many years for its medicinal properties. Damiana leaf is used as an herbal remedy for improving mood. It is also popular as an aphrodisiac and treatment for erectile dysfunction because it increases blood flow to the sexual organs. Damiana also is used to help level out hormonal imbalances.

The method of delivery of damiana can play a role in how it affects the body. The leaf of the damiana plant is often ground up and used to create a tea or soaked in alcohol to create a tincture. Damiana capsules can be purchased in health food stores. These forms of the supplement are safe for healthy people to take in regular doses. Smoking damiana, however, delivers high amounts of the herb to the body and can lead to respiratory difficulty, hallucinations, and seizures.

There are a few damiana side effects that are important to take into consideration when using this herb. Damiana is considered fairly safe when taken in small doses but the danger increases with the dosage. Large amounts can be very dangerous. The long-term effects of damiana on humans are unknown.

The most common damiana side effects are related to mood. Normal doses of damiana can improve one’s mood but larger doses have an extreme effect on emotions. Some users report hallucinations and manic feelings. Indigestion and nausea are also common while taking damiana. In general, damiana side effects are mild but people with certain health conditions should use extreme caution.

Diabetics should avoid damiana supplements altogether. One of the most common damiana side effects is hypoglycemia. This means that it can lower blood sugar to levels that can be dangerous for diabetics or hypoglycemics. One way to counteract this effect is to consume food rich in carbohydrates alongside damiana. Damiana use should be avoided in the weeks leading up to surgery to avoid blood glucose problems during the operation.

Damiana also alters the body’s hormone levels. Pregnant women should never take damiana because it might lead to miscarriage. Nursing women and children should also avoid taking this herb because there is a risk of cyanide toxicity. It is not recommended for people with anemia because it can prevent the body from absorbing iron.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon950328 — On May 09, 2014

@poster 5: From the stuff I bought, it's marketed as a herbal diuretic, meaning it helps you urinate better. This is true, although it's not the reason why I bought it. The urine seems to flow stronger and faster, no wait time, just whip it out and start going. Which was helpful because sometimes I have a shy bladder.

I bought it because I heard it was an aphrodisiac. It has improved sensation 100 percent. I didn't realize how "numb" I was down there till I tried damiana. It makes my erections harder and I become erect quicker, bigger and have more orgasmic ejaculations. I used to have sexual dysfunction but this stuff has really helped out a lot!

Some brands are better than others though. Try to buy it from a natural organic food or supplement store.

By anon343406 — On Jul 30, 2013

This is really chill. I picked some today, brewed a tea out of it and I've been feeling chill tonight. It's a great antidepressant, I think, but it just makes everything a little deeper and pretty. I love playing guitar while on it.

By anon327431 — On Mar 27, 2013

Really? Really? Although the article is fairly balanced, the part about smoking it is far from a "normal" experience! Smoked, the feeling is typically very mild and generally relaxing. The only potential for Damiana to have such extreme effects is if you happen to be allergic to it or if it's been sprayed with synthetics (as is the case with any "incense" Cannabis-alternative product; or perhaps if it's been sprayed with fertilizers/pesticides)

The rest of the article is a nice and brief synopsis.

Most of the comments are a bit over the top.

We should all be careful to differentiate between saying something has "no effects" and "no effects for me." See the difference?

By anon317873 — On Feb 04, 2013

Some of the adverse reactions that people have recounted are clearly from smoking the herb which I suspect (and I speak from experience) has been sold with synthetic cannabis as a legal high. The herb on its own and drunk as a tea has many therapeutic properties and claims.

By anon312044 — On Jan 04, 2013

These reports seem extreme to me as I have smoked damiana for about 10 years without a bad experience. It's relaxing and calms me down, and it also has properties that cause a sense of well being. I have smoked and made tea from this herb, but my personal favorite is to smoke it, because it's a measured amount and puts you in the driver's seat. In tea, it can become too strong, which upsets the stomach and makes the heart rate climb. Moderation is the key. So smoke a little at a time and avoid the adverse effects. It does nothing for your libido, yet it does paint a smile on your face.

By anon286894 — On Aug 22, 2012

When smoked it will become very addictive and the consumption volume will increase very fast. It will cause a very bad cough and decrease the lung capacity causing an extreme exhausted feeling.

By anon239510 — On Jan 09, 2012

My main effect of smoking this, besides the high, was dizziness and nausea. I felt like I had just gotten off of some spinning carnival ride, and when I finally threw up, I threw up until I had dry heaves.

By anon237379 — On Dec 28, 2011

I have used this multiple times. It wasn't too bad really ever. Tonight, I smoked some and reacted very badly to it. It was the worst thing I have ever experienced. It was as if everything was like "clay" looking and fake, I could not tell distance, I was numb everywhere, drowsy, upset stomach, nausea, 180 beats per minute for a pulse, palpitations. It felt like I was being pulled down. I knew what was going on and yet I still was confused. It felt as if I was having a flashback. I got very cold, started shaking, couldn't swallow, and a lot more things. I thought I was dying.

This was the fifth time I had used it and for some reason my body finally rejected it. I will never use this again. Too dangerous. Look up Damiana poisoning or Cyanide poisoning. It's really freaky knowing how close it was and how stupid and dangerous.

(Please note, I am 17 nearly 18, so for kids who read this, I'm not just "some worried adult.")

By anon163442 — On Mar 27, 2011

I would like to let you know I had huge, really bad side effects from Damiana. I smoked a little of it and really thought I was going to die. I really felt that my whole body was going to stop working, heart and all. So much worse than I can describe.

By StreamFinder — On Dec 17, 2010

I had heard that damiana was an aphrodisiac, but is that really true? And what would be the realistic possibility of getting damiana leaves side effects from taking damiana as an aphrodisiac?

Can you please elaborate on this, since I am looking into natural aphrodisiacs for my husband and I?


By CopperPipe — On Dec 15, 2010

I'm really glad I read this article. My friend has gotten on this herbal medicine kick, which is great, but unfortunately, she's of the "more is better" mentality, which is really not good with any kind of treatment, herbal or no.

So I've been looking up all this information about medicinal herbs and their side effects to try and convince her not to take a bunch of these things all at once.

I would be ever so grateful if you could give me more information about what would happen if you took ginseng, mullein leaf, and damiana leaf together -- side effects, good things, bad things, etc.

Those are the three that she's determined to start out with, and I'm hoping to just help her go in with a little more knowledge, and hopefully not poison herself.

Can anybody help me out?

By Planch — On Dec 14, 2010

Great article -- so many times people get caught up taking herbs and alternative medicinal supplements that they forget how much they really do impact the body.

Damiana is a perfect example of this. Though, as you said, the side effects of damiana are rare when it's taken properly, if you abuse it, you will suffer consequences, just as if you were abusing any other drug.

But the great thing about herbal supplements like this is that as long as you take it properly, and under the supervision of a doctor, you really get a lot of benefits without the extremely harmful side effects that many pharmaceuticals have.

So again, very nice article. It's good to see a balanced article about the damiana herb that includes both side effects and damiana benefits.

Good job!

By anon111767 — On Sep 17, 2010

This was one of the most comprehensive write ups I have run across. thank you.

Just an FYI to other readers, the potential for a bloody nose after a few days of consistent usage seems to increase (the ones affected are healthy young men) though they were mild and stopped fairly quickly. Peace.

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