tequila Information source for tequila and related products
Bookmark and Share

Damiana Liqueur

Damiana (turnera diffusa) is a small shrub with smooth, pale green, oval leaves and aromatic yellow flowers. The plant is found in hot, humid climates such as Mexico and South America as well as Texas and California. The aromatic damiana herb that grows wild in Baja California, Mexico.

The aromatic herb is used in several liqueurs, including some made with tequila and agave, plus other beverages and fruits. The leaves of damiana were originally used for medicinal purposes by the indigenous cultures of Central America, particularly Mexico. It has been used for many years to improve the body’s overall function including the relief of such symptoms as anxiety, asthma, poor circulation, colds/flu, constipation, depression, fatigue, headaches and nervousness. In some cases, this wonderful herb may also stimulate weight loss.

Leaves and stems of the Damiana plant are gathered at the time of flowering and then dried. These dried ingredients are used to produce the increasingly popular liquer that’s been hailed as an aphrodesiac dating back to ancient Mayan times—higher doses of damiana may even induce a mild sense of euphoria.

Now that you’ve had a brief history lesson and know what Damiana is, you might want to know what the liqueur tastes like. It has a wonderfully light, sweet and satisfying flavor that is perfect alone, as an after-dinner drink, or mixed in your favorite margarita. So, for a little extra pizzaz, try a Damiana Margarita and see for yourself whether ancient history actually does repeat itself.

Blooming with small yellow flowers, the shrub has an odor somewhat like chamomile, which is due to an oil present in the plant. The leaves have traditionally been made into a tea which was used by native people of Central and South America for its reputed aphrodisiac effects.

Damiana - An Exotic Liqueur
Sabrina Lear unmasks the herbal tonic.

A short shrub-like bush with vibrant green serrated leaves and small yellow flowers, damiana (Turnera diffusa) grows in the Sonoran Desert, northern South America and the Caribbean. It’s said that damiana has magical qualities—Viagra au natural without the side effects. Medically, it is considered a mild nerve tonic, somewhat cathartic, and is claimed to be valuable in the treatment of impotence and hormonal imbalance. Soothing damiana is brewed as a tea, used as an ingredient in lust potions and spells, is smoked by some, and burned to produce visions.

But what about the alcoholic version? Here on the Southern Baja California Peninsula where damiana grows wild, homemade liqueur is made on ranches, and a small batch brand, Calida Fornax (hot furnace in Latin, once thought to be the origin of the name California), is produced locally in La Paz by Productos D’Alphim.

Less sugary and without any artificial coloring or flavor, its taste and smell is much closer to sprigs of fresh damiana than the mass-produced liqueur best known for its zaftig fertility goddess bottle. Alone, the liqueur has a mellow, somewhat fresh woody taste. For an exotic take on the classic margarita cocktail, try substituting damiana for orange liqueur. As for whether or not damiana will fire up your love life, well, that’s between the two of you and a bottle of Calida Fornax.—S.L.

Source: Los Cabos Magazine - Issue #11 - Winter 2007 - By Sabrina Lear

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy.
by Finley Ellingwood, M.D., 1919.

Special genitourinary remedies - Agents acting upon the genito-urinary organs.

DAMIANA. Turnera aphrodisiaca. - Synonym—Turnera diffusa.

Therapy—A mild nerve tonic claimed to be valuable in the treatment of sexual impotence. Some of our physicians praise it highly for its influence in sexual neurasthenia, and it is said to correct frigidity in the female.

It had long enjoyed a local reputation as a stimulant tonic of the sexual apparatus among the natives of Mexico, before it attracted the attention of the profession. Besides its peculiar action on the sexual appetite and function, it is a general tonic, somewhat cathartic, and is slightly cholagogue.

The midwives and women of loose morals of Western Mexico also attribute emmenagogue properties to it.

It is valuable in renal and cystic catarrh and in general irritation of the urinary passages, through its influence in soothing irritation of mucous membranes.

In the line of the action of this remedy in its influence upon the reproductive organs, Dr. Reid mentions dysmenorrhea, headache, at the menstrual epoch, bad complexion, rough or discolored patches on the skin with acne, especially of a severe type, depending upon uterine irritation. Eruption resembling eczema, from insufficient menstruation.

Dr. Watkins gives as its further indications, delayed or suppressed menstruation in young girls, irregularity at the beginning of menstruation, amenorrhea in very young girls. It will certainly allay sensitiveness of the sympathetic nervous system to irritations caused by disorders of the womb and ovaries. The remedy must be given in full doses, to accomplish these results. From five to ten grains of the extract is necessary three or four times a day, and persisted in. The writer has been using it as suggested, and has been very well satisfied with it.

For more information please follow this link:
The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy.
by Finley Ellingwood, M.D., 1919.http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed/eclectic/ellingwood/turnera.html.

Damiana Liqueur - Damiana is a light sweet liqueur made with the aromatic damiana herb that grows wild in Baja California, Mexico. The Damiana Margarita is very popular in the Los Cabos area of Mexico. Brands include Calida Fornax and Guaycura Liqueur de Damiana.

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico - Last Revision - 15 February 2009 - jat