Turnera diffusa

Turnera diffusa, known as damiana,[3] is a shrub native to southern Texas in the United States,[4] Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. It belongs to the family Passifloraceae.[2]

Damiana is a relatively small, woody shrub that produces small, aromatic flowers. It blossoms in early to late summer and is followed by fruits that taste similar to figs. The shrub is said to have a strong spice-like odor somewhat like chamomile, due to the essential oils present in the plant.[5]

Turnera diffusa
Turnera diffusa var. aphrodisiaca 002
Turnera diffusa var. aphrodisiaca
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Passifloraceae
Genus: Turnera
T. diffusa
Binomial name
Turnera diffusa

T. d. var. aphrodisiaca (G.H.Ward) Urb.
T. d. var. diffusa[2]


Turnera microphylla Ham.

Turnera diffusa var. aphrodisiaca 001
Turnera diffusa var. aphrodisiaca foliage and inflorescence
A bottle of Damiana liqueur


Damiana is an ingredient in a traditional Mexican liqueur, which is sometimes used in lieu of triple sec in margaritas. Mexican folklore claims that it was used in the "original" margarita. The damiana margarita is popular in the Los Cabos region of Mexico.[6][7]

Damiana was included in several 19th-century patent medicines, such as Pemberton's French Wine Coca. The leaves were omitted from that product's non-alcoholic counterpart, Coca-Cola.[8]


Damiana contains damianin; tetraphyllin B; gonzalitosin I; arbutin; tricosan-2-one; acacetin; p-cymene; β-sitosterol; 1,8-cineole; apigenin;[9] α-pinene; β-carotene; β-pinene; tannins; thymol;[10] and hexacosanol.[11] In total, 22 flavonoids, maltol glucoside, phenolics, seven cyanogenic glycosides, monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, triterpenoids, the polyterpene ficaprenol-11, fatty acids, and caffeine have been found in the genus Turnera.[12]

As of 2006, damiana's constituents have not been identified for their effects attributed to the whole herb.[13] Damiana's anxiolytic properties might be due to apigenin.[11]

The extract from damiana has been found to suppress aromatase activity, including the isolated compounds pinocembrin and acacetin.[14][15]


T. diffusa is a host plant for the Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia).[16]

Misidentification in commerce

Viable plant and seed material sold as T. diffusa from both private and commercial sources largely turns out to be misidentified Turnera ulmifolia (a.k.a. "False Damiana"), a closely related species. This widespread issue has been noted by the scientific community, and has created much confusion among both amateur and professional horticulturists alike.[17][18][19] While T. ulmifolia is similar in appearance, its chemical constituents and ethnobotanical uses are distinctly different.[20] Mature stems of T. diffusa are woody, with small, grayed green leaves 13 to 16 mm long, 4.5 to 5.5 mm wide, obtuse at the apex, and strongly aromatic when crushed.[21] T. ulmifolia is differentiated by herbaceous stems, larger blue-green leaves that are strongly dentate with a pointed apex, and only weakly aromatic.[22][23][24]

One scientific study however, demonstrated this confusion being mostly associated with horticultural commerce, and does not extend appreciably to commercial herbal products, most of which exhibit constituents that can be definitively traced to T. diffusa.[25]


  1. ^ "Turnera diffusa". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  2. ^ a b c "Turnera diffusa". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2012-01-03.
  3. ^ "Turnera diffusa". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  4. ^ Everitt, J. H.; Dale Lynn Drawe; Robert I. Lonard (2002). Trees, Shrubs, and Cacti of South Texas. Texas Tech University Press. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-89672-473-0.
  5. ^ Gildemeister, Eduard; Friedrich Hoffmann (1922). Edward Kremers (ed.). The Volatile Oils. Volume 3 (2 ed.). Wiley. p. 183.
  6. ^ Damiana Liqueur at Damiana.net
  7. ^ Perry, Charles (2007-06-20). "The unexpected thrill". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ Pendergrast, Mark (2000). For God, Country, and Coca Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It (2 ed.). Basic Books. pp. 24–30. ISBN 978-0-46505-468-8.
  9. ^ Kumar, Suresh (February 9, 2005). "Anti-anxiety Activity Studies on Homoeopathic Formulations of Turnera aphrodisiaca Ward". Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 2 (1): 117–119. doi:10.1093/ecam/neh069. PMC 1062162. PMID 15864356.
  10. ^ Balch, Phyllis A. (2002). Prescription for Nutritional Healing: the A to Z Guide to Supplements (2 ed.). Penguin. p. 233. ISBN 978-1-58333-143-9.
  11. ^ a b Kumar, S; Madaan, R; Sharma, A (2008), "Pharmacological evaluation of Bioactive Principle of Turnera aphrodisiaca", Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 70 (6): 740–4, doi:10.4103/0250-474X.49095, PMC 3040867, PMID 21369434
  12. ^ Szewczyk, K; Zidorn, C (2014). "Ethnobotany, phytochemistry, and bioactivity of the genus Turnera (Passifloraceae) with a focus on damiana – Turnera diffusa". Journal of Ethobotany. 152 (3): 424–443. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.01.019. ISSN 0378-8741. PMID 24468305.
  13. ^ Kumar, Suresh; Taneja, Ruchi; Sharma, Anupam (2006), "Pharmacognostic Standardization of Turnera aphrodisiaca Ward", Journal of Medicinal Food, 9 (2): 254–60, doi:10.1089/jmf.2006.9.254, PMID 16822212
  14. ^ Zhao J, Dasmahapatra AK, Khan SI, Khan IA. (2008). "Anti-aromatase activity of the constituents from damiana (Turnera diffusa)". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 120 (3): 387–393. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.09.016.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  15. ^ Katarzyna Szewczyka and Christian Zidorn (2014). "Ethnobotany, phytochemistry, and bioactivity of the genus Turnera (Passifloraceae) with a focus on damiana—Turnera diffusa". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 152 (3): 424–443. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.01.019.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  16. ^ Wauer, Roland H. (2004). Butterflies of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Boulder, CO: Johnson Books. p. 128. ISBN 9781555663476.
  17. ^ Joshi, V.C.; Rao, A.S.; Wang, Y.H.; Avula, B.; Khan, I.A. (March 2009). "Taxonomic Clarification on Turnera diffusa Ward and its Demarcation from "False Damiana" using Fluorescence, Scanning Electron Microscopy, HPTLC and UPLC". Planta Medica. 75 (4). doi:10.1055/s-2009-1216454.
  18. ^ "Damiana - Turnera diffusa, Turnera ulmifolia seed pictures". shroomery.org. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Turnera diffusa var diffusa or var aphrodisiaca or what?". National Gardening Association. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Tropical Plant Database". Raintree. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  21. ^ Meerow, Alan W.; Ayala-Silva, Tomás; Irish, Brian M. (December 2010). "Turnera diffusa 'Luisa', a Drought-tolerant Small Shrub for Warm Climates". HortScience. 45 (12): 1895–1896. doi:10.21273/HORTSCI.45.12.1895. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Elm-leaved Turnera – Turnera ulmifolia". A Neotropical Savanna. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Turnera Ulmifolia". College of Micronesia. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  24. ^ "Woody and Herbaceous Plants Native to Haiti" (PDF). University of Florida, Miami-Dade. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  25. ^ Schäffer, Marion; Gröger, Thomas; Pütz, Michael; Zimmermann, Ralf (July 2013). "Assessment of the presence of damiana in herbal blends of forensic interest based on comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography". Forensic Toxicology. 31 (2): 251–262. doi:10.1007/s11419-013-0186-5. Retrieved 7 September 2016.

External links


Acacetin is an O-methylated flavone found in Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust), Turnera diffusa (damiana), Betula pendula (silver birch), and in the fern Asplenium normale.The enzyme apigenin 4'-O-methyltransferase uses S-adenosyl methionine and 5,7,4'-trihydroxyflavone (apigenin) to produce S-adenosylhomocysteine and 4'-methoxy-5,7-dihydroxyflavone (acacetin).

Aromatase inhibitor

Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are a class of drugs used in the treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal women and gynecomastia in men. They may also be used off-label to reduce estrogen conversion when using external testosterone. They may also be used for chemoprevention in high risk women.

Aromatase is the enzyme that catalyzes a key aromatization step in the synthesis of estrogen. It converts the enone ring of androgen precursors such as testosterone, to a phenol, completing the synthesis of estrogen. As breast and ovarian cancers require estrogen to grow, AIs are taken to either block the production of estrogen or block the action of estrogen on receptors.


Eucalyptol is a natural organic compound that is a colorless liquid. It is a cyclic ether and a monoterpenoid.

Eucalyptol is also known by a variety of synonyms: 1,8-cineol, 1,8-cineole, cajeputol, 1,8-epoxy-p-menthane, 1,8-oxido-p-menthane, eucalyptol, eucalyptole, 1,3,3-trimethyl-2-oxabicyclo[2.2.2]octane, cineol, and cineole.

In 1870, F. S. Cloez identified and ascribed the name "eucalyptol" to the dominant portion of Eucalyptus globulus oil.

Euptoieta hegesia

Euptoieta hegesia, the Mexican fritillary, is a North and South American butterfly in the family Nymphalidae.


Gifiti (also guifiti, giffidy, geffidee) is a rum-based bitters, made by soaking roots and herbs in rum. It is traditionally made by the Garifuna people of the Caribbean coast. Gifiti is traditionally used medicinally, with different compositions for men and women, but is also consumed recreationally, most commonly as shots. Color depends on composition; it is often green or brown.

List of flora of the Sonoran Desert Region by common name

The Sonoran Desert is located in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico in North America.

The Sonoran Desert Region, as defined by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, includes the Sonoran Desert and some surrounding areas. All of Sonora, the Baja California Peninsula, and the islands of the Gulf of California are included. Also included are parts of Sinaloa and Chihuahua, some Pacific islands off the coast of Baja California (excluding Guadalupe Island), and southern Arizona and southern California in the United States.This region has 4,004 species of plants from 1201 genera in 182 families. Many lack common names. Many have more than one common name, but only one is listed. Native and non-native taxa are included.

List of phytochemicals in food

While there is ample evidence to indicate the health benefits of diets rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts, no specific food has been acknowledged by scientists and government regulatory authorities as providing a health benefit. Current medical research is focused on whether health effects could be due to specific essential nutrients or to phytochemicals which are not defined as essential.The following is a list of phytochemicals present in commonly consumed foods.

List of plants used for smoking

Various plants are used around the world for smoking due to various chemical compounds they contain and the effects of these chemicals on the human body. This list contains plants that are smoked, rather than those that are used in the process of smoking or in the preparation of the substance.

Althaea officinalis ~ "Marshmallow"

Amaranthus dubius

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ~ "Bearberry"

Argemone mexicana


Artemisia vulgaris ~ "Mugwort"

Asteraceae species ~ "Chamomile"

Cabbage ~ Brassica Oleracea

Calea zacatechichi

Canavalia maritima ~ "Baybean"

Cannabis THC and CBD

Cecropia mexicana ~ "Guamura"

Cestrum nocturnum ~ "Hasana" ???

Cynoglossum virginianum L. ~ "Wild comfrey"

Cytisus scoparius


Entada rheedii

Eschscholzia californica ~ “California Poppy”

Fittonia albivenis

Hippobroma longiflora

Humulus japonica ~ “Japanese Hops”

Humulus lupulus ~ "Hops"

Lavandula species ~ "Lavender"

Lactuca virosa ~ "Lettuce Opium"

Laggera alata ~ "?”

Lamiaceae species ~ "Mint"

Leonotis leonurus ~ "Lion's tail" or "Wild dagga"

Leonurus cardiaca ~ "Motherwort"

Leonurus sibiricus ~ "Honeyweed"

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia inflata ~ "Indian-tobacco"

Lobelia inflata

Lobelia siphilitica

Nepeta cataria ~ "Catnip"

Nicotiana species ~ "Tobacco"

Nymphaea alba ~ "White Lily"

Nymphaea caerulea ~ "Blue Lily"

Opium poppy

Origanum majorana ~ "Marjoram"

Origanum vulgare ~ "Oregano"

Passiflora incarnata ~ "Passionflower"

Pedicularis densiflora ~ "Indian Warrior"

Pedicularis groenlandica ~ "Elephant's Head"

Red raspberry leaf

Rubus occidentalis

Salvia divinorum

Salvia dorrii ~ "Tobacco Sage"

Salvia species ~ “Sage”, etc.

Scutellaria galericulata

Scutellaria lateriflora

Scutellaria nana

Scutellaria species ~ "Skullcap"

Sida acuta ~ "Wireweed"

Sida rhombifolia ~ "Wireweed"

Silene capensis

Syzygium aromaticum - "Clove"

Tagetes lucida ~ "Mexican Tarragon"

Tarchonanthus camphoratus ~ "???"

Turnera diffusa ~ "Damiana"

Tussilago farfara ~ "Coltsfoot"

Verbascum species ~ "Mullein"

Zornia latifolia ~ "Maconha Brava"

List of psychoactive plants

A list of plants that are used as psychoactive drugs. Some of them have been used entheogenically for millennia. The plants are listed according to the substances they contain.

Mina, Nuevo León

Mina is town and municipality located in the Northwestern part of the northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo León. The population was 4,309 at the 2005 census. Its name honors Spaniard insurgent general Francisco Javier Mina, who fought for the Mexican side in the independence movement from Spain. Located at the northwestern part of the state of Nuevo León. Mina is a renowned tourist destination, for its mysticism and legends in the state of Nuevo León.


Pinocembrin is a flavanone, a type of flavonoid. It is an antioxidant found in damiana, honey, fingerroot, and propolis.Pinocembrin can be converted biosynthetically to pinobanksin by hydroxylation adjacent to the ketone. Studies have shown that pinocembrin has potential as a drug to treat cerebral ischemia, intracerebral hemorrhage, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases and atherosclerosis as well as other diseases.


Turnera is a genus of flowering plants in the passionflower family, Passifloraceae. It contains more than 100 species native to tropical and subtropical America. The name honours English naturalist William Turner (1508-1568). It was previously placed in the family Turneraceae.

Turnera ulmifolia

Turnera ulmifolia, the ramgoat dashalong or yellow alder, is a species of plant of family Passifloraceae, native to Mexico and the West Indies. A recent study found that yellow alder potentiated the antibiotic activity against methicillin—resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.