Monday, February 4, 2008

Turnera diffusa aka Damiana, Blog Party

Thank you to my friend and awesome woman/bath and body goddess, Ananda of
Plant Journeysfor hosting our blog party this month.

Damiana is an often used medicinal herb in my home. About 2 years ago, I lost my uterus to cervical cancer, then needed radiation for cells that were found to try and travel.
The radiation fried my ovaries, and I began a quick decent into the world of the crones. It was a difficult year indeed. I almost left my husband in the process. He was a patient partner indeed.
I discovered in that first year just why many crones left their mates. It appears that when a woman loses her reproductive functions, she also feels like just BEING. And being alone too.
But that is another path on the journey, I am to share about Damiana.

So let me go back to 2003 when I first befriended Damiana. I was a new Master Herbalist student with Heart of Herbs school and had been studying womens health, infertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and female related experience.
Damiana came up in the studies so I ordered some from Mountain Rose Herbs and began to drink infusions laced with this interesting herb.
I found the blood flow did indeed fill my pelvic region and often times I felt intensely sexual. I was breastfeeding a child at the time so this was a good thing. But there was a down side. In the few weeks I was trying to understand the power of Turnera diffusa, I conceived my last born daughter, Olivia.
It tooks several weeks to have joy again as I was NOT prepared for a 7th pregnancy.

But the proof was there that it could enhance the fertility. I began to make a tea to help so many women that have come to me in hopes to bear a child. In the 3 or 4 years I have made this blend, about 50% of the women have conceived. This is good news.
One woman got pregnant just in time before her doctor performed a hysterectomy for another female issue. She desired one more baby before the final end to reproduction.
I wonder if the mind may have anything to do with the successful attempts at pregnancy with this herb, but with personal experience I did get pregnant while nursing (an older child) but I did conceive when I was not wanting to. Just as the Mayan folklore stated with their women.

If you go to my blog on January 28, 2008 you will see a story I shared about Damiana. We adore Damiana so much at our house, my sweetheart bought the pregnant woman/goddess looking bottle of Damiana liquoure for our 8th anniversary.

Lets discuss a moment what the known usage for Turnera diffusa is.

the main action of the herb is aphrodisiac, antidepressant, nervine, and anti anxiety tonic.

Used primarily for stimulating sexual desire, erectile dysfunction and enhancing organsm in both sexes.
Tones the central nervous system and easing the stress of emotional issues such as depression or anxiety.
Helps balance hormones.

May help colic, dyspesia, and upset stomach.

Also considered helpful in dealing with mental disorders such as hypochondria, obsessive compulsive disordeer, paranoia and minor depression.

The only contraindication I have seen noted is that iron may not be absorbed as well when Damiana is consumed.

Damiana is grown in Mexico, South America and West Indies.
This small shrub grows 1-2 meters high. The aromatic leaves are serrate. The scent of the leaves....aaaahhh. I smell sex and candy here......or something like that. The scent of Damiana entices my more playful side and each time I receive a bulk order in, I find comfort and relief just from the scent of this herb.

I typically add about 1 oz of Damiana to my 2 quart mason jar I make my infusions in. I also add another herb such as oatstraw, or red raspberry leaf to enhance my vitamin and mineral intake of the day.
Some have reported to me the distaste they have for Damiana. Yes, it is different, but certainly not any worse than the fresh dug echinacea angustifolia root we have gathered on our land.
If you can open your wild heart as Gail Faith Edwards would say, you may find that the scent and flavor are the call to the inner sensuality trapped inside the socially correct YOU.

I dont drink Damiana daily, but probably every other day or every three days.

Another really wonderful way to take Damiana is to steep 1 oz of herb into 2 cups quality vodka for aobut 5 days.
Strain and pour liquid into a mason jar and set in your pantry a few days.Place the leaves from your straining into a mason jar and cover the leaves with 1 1/2 cups sprain or distilled water.
Leave the leaves and water blend for about 3 days. Strain and compost the leaves. Mix the Damiana steeped water with 1 cup honey adn wamr over low low heat until the honey is dissolved.
Add the alcohol extract and mix well. Pour into a mason jar and add a bit of vanilla extract and rose water or a drop or rose otto essential oil. Allow to set at least 1 month.
When ready to consume, add 1/2 cup chocolate syrup to each cup damiana liquoure. You can add a few drops of almond extract and another dash of rosewater at this time too.
The chocolate will want to set at the bottom, so mix well before consuming.
This is the recipe Rosemary Gladstar shares in her book The Family Herbal.
I will be honest, I love the 5 day liquor honestly. If I have had a tough day or the kids have been exteremly active, a little glass of damiana infused vodka is a real nice mellowing drink for me.
I also have made this liquoure with sugar free chocolate and omitted the honey completely.

Another nice drink for "one of those days" is drinking the water from the soaked leaves. It tastes good and has just enough alcohol to calm the nerves, along with the power of Damiana.

Damiana has become like a friend to me in my time of hormonal lack. I can testify that Damiana does help both myself and my husband with sexual issues we battle.



Angie Goodloe LMT, Herbalist said...

Lovely post! Makes me want to connect with this plant:)

seventh sister said...

Does your husband also drink the damiana or is it strictly a female tonic?

Herbs~Art~Family~Love said...

Both sexes can use. But for me, I take it more often to help me overcome my changes post cancer.
I sometimes forget to give him but it would be helpful for us both sometimes.

Enjoy~ thanks for writing:)

Stephanie said...

How about if you take it DURING pregnancy....?

I love it, and don't want to give it up, but we are wanting to become pregnant. Did you take it during your pregnancy as well?

Herbs~Art~Family~Love said...

No actually...I was rpegnant when I did not realize it and was using, but since it increases blodo flow to the pelvis, it is best not to use once you know in case of miscarriage sensitivity and all. I would switch to red raspberry leaf, nettles and oatstraw at that point

Anonymous said...

I am 8 weeks pregnant and suffering from mild depression. My midwife gave me some Damiana loose leaf to make some tea. Do you know if women a long time ago would take it during pregnancy?