damiana_herbAsk someone, chances are they won’t have heard of this amazing herb.  Maybe it’s because it’s one of Mexico’s best kept secrets?  It’s been used there, and in other central American countries for centuries, and its properties are so highly-prized they won’t let it out of their country alive.  By that I mean, no growing herb or fertile seeds.  You can get it in dried, chopped and ready-to-use form, but unless you live there you won’t get hold of the fresh herb.

So what does it do?  Why are the Mexicans so keen to keep it to themselves?

Damiana is most coveted for its aphrodisiac properties.  But it gets better.  Not only does it help spice up your love life on one of those special nights but, if used over a period of time, it increases a person’s general libido, sexual fitness and performance.  It works by opening up the blood vessels around the genital area, leading to increased sensitivity and general arousal.

It doesn’t stop there.  In addition to giving your love life a boost, it increases your energy levels, stimulates the intestinal tract, acts as an anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and nervousness tonic, alleviates asthma symptoms, constipation and menstrual problems.  Phew.  Oh, did I also mention it relaxes you and gives a mild cannabis-like ‘stoned’ effect?

Not only all of that, it tastes better than a lot of other herbs out there.  Which leads to the question of how to consume it.

Well, it makes a great cup of tea.  You can also smoke it or, if it’s a night of lurve with your significant other you’re looking for, make damiana wine.

To gain its long-term benefits, the best method is to drink it as a tea. It’s a lovely relaxant and will leave you feeling chilled after a stressful day. Consume one cup per day for at least two weeks and you should start to notice its effects as an anti-depressant and general wellness tonic.

Smoking it is another method of consuming the herb, and you can either break open a damiana teabag and smoke the contents  or buy it loose online.

To make damiana wine, pick a wine you usually enjoy and open a bottle.  Drink a little (enough to make room for the herb) and add the contents of 6 teabags (around 1/4 oz) of damiana herb.  Close the bottle and leave to steep for up to 8 hours, the longer the better.  When pouring, strain through a tea-strainer or clean cloth handkerchief.

As with all herbs, the stronger the required effect, the more you need to consume.  If you’ve never taken damiana before, try out a smaller dose first, and then increase until the desired effect is achieved.

(This article appeared on my other site, ritestuffuk.wordpress.com, last year but the herb is so awesome I wanted to tell you guys about it, too :).  Since writing the article, I did manage to find some viable seeds on eBay and got them to sprout, but they didn’t do at all well and eventually shrivelled to nothing.  I don’t call myself an expert gardener, so I think this plant needs more skill and expertise than mine to bring it to maturity.)

I make teabags from Damiana, and they are delicious!  Look out for them on our stall.

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