Turnera diffusa, known as damiana, is a shrub native to southwestern Texas in the United States, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. It belongs to the family Passifloraceae.
Damiana is a relatively small 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. The leaves have traditionally been made into a tea and an incense which was used by native people of Central and South America for its relaxing effects. Spanish missionaries first recorded that the Mexican Indians drank Damiana tea mixed with sugar for use as an aphrodisiac.
Damiana is used as a general tonic for the nervous, hormonal, and reproductive systems. It has an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac. Some claim damiana tea has a relaxing effect not-unlike low doses of cannabis. Others argue that Damiana has no active ingredients, and that its medicinal reputation is based on damiana tonics from the late 1800s which were inactive, or contained enough alcohol and/or coca to produce unrelated effects.