The herb damiana has been used in Mexico for some time as a male aphrodisiac.1 Classic herbal literature of the nineteenth century describes it as a "tonic," or general body strengthener.

Damiana continues to be a popular aphrodisiac for males. However, if it works at all, the effect appears to be rather mild. No scientific trials have been reported.

Damiana is also sometimes said to be helpful for treating asthma and other respiratory diseases, depression, digestive problems, menstrual disorders, and various forms of sexual dysfunction —for example, impotencein men and inability to achieve orgasm in women.2,3   However, there is no real evidence that it works for any of these conditions.

Like the herb uva ursi, damiana contains arbutin, although at a concentration about 10 times lower. Arbutin is a urinary antiseptic, but the levels present in damiana are probably too small to make this herb a useful treatment for bladder infections.