A Look at Damiana Tea and Smoking Damiana for Sex, Dreams, and Relaxation
Introducing the Turnera Diffusa Plant
Damiana tea comes from the “turnera diffusa plant”, a small shrub that grows tasty fig-like fruits, native to the southwestern US, Mexico, and Central America, among other places.
From the leaves of the shrub you can make damiana teas and damiana incense, as well as extracts and oils. Interesting, it’s presently an ingredient in traditional Mexican liquors, and was supposedly how margaritas were originally made.
Damania Tea and Relaxation
Damiana tea has long been known for its relaxing effects. Currently there is little research into the precise mechanisms or chemicals responsible for this effect, but something called “damianin” (which, admittedly, sounds like someone just made it up on the spot while doing their research) is supposed to be responsible for the relaxing effects on the central nervous system that damiana is known for.
Damiana Tea and Sex
Beyond its reputation for its pleasant, relaxing effects when drank as a tea, the most famous thing about damiana is it’s status as an aphrodisiac.
Amazingly, damiana actually seems to be the real deal when it comes to its status as sex enhancer and libido stimulator. At least in animal models, and don’t we all fuck like rats, really?
Animal testing ethics aside, two studies in the late 1990’s published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology show some interesting data on damiana and sex. In a nutshell, rats that were either impotent and rats that just came and shouldn’t be able to get it up so quickly again – it’s hard to interpret the scientific jargon exactly, but I believe that’s what they’re saying! – were both able to get back into the swing of things and have sex again, quickly, when exposed to damiana.
What about the female rats you might ask? The same studies also showed it led to “increased sexual activity” among for the lady rats too.
So at least we know if you’re a rat you will be getting it on with some damiana.
Can we extrapolate the results to humans?
That can be dangerous when it comes to animal models in general, but considering that the only reason the tests were done is because people already claimed damiana had these effects on them is pretty good evidence (to me anyway) that there’s something to be said for damiana and sex.
Now who would’ve thought a plant native to Texas could be so naughty? 😉
Damiana Tea and Lucid Dreaming
I’ve noticed that damiana is often an ingredient in “herbal dream blends”, and mainly attributed this to the fact it’s smokable and has a pleasant taste, it’s relaxing, and it’s popular amongst people who “into this kind of stuff.”
But does it actually have an effect on lucid dreams or dreams in general?
I’m skeptical, as always, but there might be something to it – in fact, after doing all the research for this article I’m starting to think there really is something to damiana and dreams.
Erowid published an interesting Experience Report called The Sensuous Curve of Awakened Dreams claiming damiana has the ability to potentiate vivid, erotic, and lucid dreams. The writer had been practicing several lucid dreaming techniques and then one night, after both smoking and drinking damiana tea, had a series of lucid dreams and erotic dreams.
I also found a couple conversations online like this one where people report success smoking damiana for dream work.
The authors at DreamHerbs.com (side note: is the author the founder of I Am Shaman?) also discuss using damiana in this context. In describing their own experience, the writer says he drinks a cup of damiana tea just before bed and also smokes a bit of it too, which “almost always is…followed by distinct and vivid lucidity within the following dream states,” with a “distinctly erotic overtone.”
Very interesting indeed and something I’d like to experiment with and blog about.
Photo by H. Zell.
Damiana Vs the State of Louisiana
In an act of overreaching stupidity, in 2010 the state of Louisiana passed a law that made damiana illegal. Those patient enough to sift through legal jargon can read the bill here, but in effect, House Bill NO. 173 outlawed damiana along with a bazillion other plants that they were worried could corrupt the youth of America. Specifically for damiana, this meant that its leaves, stems, seeds, and resin were now illegal, banning not just the tea but any kind of mixture, preparation, anything to do with it.
In the same section and elsewhere in the bill, it also outlawed Mugwort, Sacred Lotus, Blue Lotus, Salvia Divonoru, Skullcap, and synthetic canniboids. You might notice 2 particularly interesting things there – Salvia and synthetic canniboids, aka “Spice.”
Yep, Damiana got screwed because of all the media attention on Salvia and Spice.
I know this is old news but it still makes me mad. At least for now this is only true for Louisiana and nowhere else.
One unfortunate side effect is that many herbal companies like I Am Shaman completely stopped shipping anything to anyone in the state. Eish.