Turnera diffusa

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Turnera diffusa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Passifloraceae
Genus: Turnera
Species: T. diffusa
Binomial name
Turnera diffusa
Willd. ex Schult.[1]

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


Turnera microphylla Ham.[2]

A zaftig bottle of Damiana liqueur

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

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.[4]


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.[5][6]

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.[7]


Damiana contains damianin; tetraphyllin B; gonzalitosin I; arbutin; tricosan-2-one; acacetin; p-cymene; β-sitosterol; 1,8-cineole; apigenin;[8] α-pinene; β-carotene; β-pinene; tannins; thymol;[9] and hexacosanol.[10] 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.[11]

As of 2006, damiana's constituents have not been identified for their effects attributed to the whole herb.[12] Damiana's anxiolytic properties might be due to apigenin.[10]


  1. ^ "Turnera diffusa". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  2. ^ a b c "Taxon: Turnera diffusa Willd.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Gildemeister, Eduard; Friedrich Hoffmann (1922). Edward Kremers, ed. The Volatile Oils. Volume 3 (2 ed.). Wiley. p. 183. 
  5. ^ Damiana Liqueur at Damiana.net
  6. ^ Perry, Charles (2007-06-20). "The unexpected thrill". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Kumar, Suresh (February 9, 2005). "Anti-anxiety Activity Studies on Homoeopathic Formulations of Turnera aphrodisiaca Ward". Hindawi Publishing Corporation. doi:10.1093/ecam/neh069. PMC 1062162. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ a b "Pharmacological evaluation of Bioactive Principle of Turnera aphrodisiaca", Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 70, 2008: 740–4, doi:10.4103/0250-474X.49095, PMC 3040867, PMID 21369434 
  11. ^ 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: 424–443. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.01.019. ISSN 0378-8741. PMID 24468305. 
  12. ^ "Pharmacognostic Standardization of Turnera aphrodisiaca Ward", Journal of Medicinal Food 9 (2), 2006: 254–60, doi:10.1089/jmf.2006.9.254, PMID 16822212 

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