Damiana Leaf is a traditional, herbal remedy for several nervous and sexual dysfunctions, going back centuries. But does it actually move the needle on blood testosterone? Most evidence isn’t promising, which may not surprise you considering it isn’t found in any of our Editor’s Picks for T-Boosters.
At the Great Green Wall, we’re all about finding what works, no matter what the source. Whatever works for weight loss, whether it’s a traditional, plante derived remedy for appetite like Glucomannan or cutting edge scientific T-Boosters like D-Asp. I point that out because sometimes I have to rain on an herbal-remedy parade, and it’s not because I’m anti-herbs. I simply can’t endorse ingredients that don’t work.
What You Need to Know
Largest Body of Evidence
It can be said that the biggest critic of a sports team is also their biggest fan. The analogy to medical research is that the most damning lack of evidence from a study can come from researchers who actually found some proof, looked for more, and didn’t find it.
With Damiana Leaf, researchers publishing in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine–generally more open-minded than other journals–tested to see if Damiana could actually work for ED and other male sexual dysfunction.
Their good news is that Damiana works for all domains of sexual performance. Their bad news? When they looked for a hormone response they found no significant changes to testosterone.
Another team of scientists also found some benefit of Damiana Leaf, but no changes to serum testosterone. Their research tested several compounds for anti-aromatase properties, including Damiana (under its scientific name Turnera diffusa). Results showed that Damiana really can reduce aromatase, helping prevent Testosterone conversion to estrogen. Tellingly, though, this did not lead to higher testosterone levels in actual human data.
Both of these studies are still hopeful. No matter how unbiased scientists can be, some of their language gives them away. For instance, both reports call for further study, and larger-scale human studies with rigorous testosterone sampling. Something I’ve learned, however, is that it’s difficult to find funding for studies such as this when the hypotheses don’t seem plausible based on preliminary data.
In other words, if other scientists don’t see the promise in Damiana Leaf increases total-T, they won’t waste precious research money on it.
One Glimmer of Hope
Anyone who has taken antidepressants knows that one of the side-effects can be changes in libido and performance. One family of antidepressants, Amitriptyline, is known to cause actual testicular toxicity. A very bad thing.
A recent study published in Biomedicine Pharmacotherapy found that treatment with Damiana can significantly reduce this damage caused by Amitriptyline. In other words, if a person does have testosterone damage from antidepressants, Damiana could help.
So What is Damiana Doing?
If we have evidence that Damiana is having an effect on sexual performance and aromatase activity, but no change in Testosterone levels, it’s fair to ask–so what is it doing? One researcher, Dr. S. Kumar from India, has set out to find some answers.
His research, spread out over two published studies, tried to evaluate if Damiana has any anti-anxiety effects. If it does, it might explain improved sexual performance, and the bodies reduced tendency to convert Testosterone.
Results from his studies have been mixed. Partly because his test subjects have been mice, and it’s difficult to measure anxiety in a mouse, and partly because as similar as they are to us, their stress and hormone responses are much different than ours in certain cases. (You can read his results here and here.)
There’s nothing wrong with taking an herbal supplement that doesn’t have a Testosterone effect. In all the research I’ve done, Damiana is safe and well-tolerated in subjects. But we also don’t see it present in proven performers like Testo Prime and Testo-Max, which may tell the whole story by itself.