Damiana: the herb of LOVE
When Spanish missionaries arrived in present day Mexico they found the natives drinking teas made from this special herb. In fact, it most likely dates back even further since records show this herb being used by the Mayans as an aphasiac.
Also, known as Tunera diffusa this herb comes in at second place behind chocolate, as a most powerful sexual tonic and stimulator. Not only does Damiana stimulate and warm, but it also may act as an anti-depressant, nerve tonic, digestion aid, or urinary antiseptic.
Used throughout history, it exists as a small shrub with aromatic leaves found on dry, sunny, rocky hillsides in south Texas, Southern California, Mexico, and Central America. Ancient Aztecs used the leaves as medicine, and also had the children drink it as a refreshing tonic. These leaves have been known to be consumed in ancient ceremonies, but according to legends they had been banned due to the prominent aphrodisiac effects on tribe members.
Some have been known to smoke Damiana, or also to create cordials. A typical smoker’s blend would include a pinch of Spearmint or Peppermint leaves, with a pinch of Passionflower and Rose petals. As a cordial, a quick mix can be made with vanilla extract and a choice of honey, sugar, or maple syrup.
Below is one of Providence’s favorite Damiana love liqueur recipes:
1 oz damiana leaves (dried)
2 cups vodka or brandy
1 ½ cups spring water
1 cup honey
- Soak damiana leaves in alcohol for 5 days. Strain; reserve liquid in a bottle.
- Soak the alcohol drenched leaves in the spring water for 3 days. Strain and reserve the liquid.
- Over low heat, gently warm the water extract and dissolve the honey in it. Remove from heat then add alcohol extract and stir well. Pour into a clean bottle and add a splash of vanilla, and a touch of rose water for flavor. Let it mellow for 1 month or longer; it gets smoother with age.
- To each cup of damiana liqueur, add ½ cup of chocolate syrup, 2 or 3 drops almond extract, and a touch more of rose water.
Providence makes a wonderful tea with the spicy yet floral Damiana herb called Love Libation. A delicious tea combined with other herbs such as rose pedals, cinnamon, clove and ginger.