Majority of the side effects of herbal remedies depend on the dosage and the synthetic medications taken by the person. Other alternative health treatments like diet modification or homeopathy are somewhat safe. However, some herbs are risky and should be taken in the right dosage to achieve the desired outcome, or else less palatable effects may take place. Indeed, herbs taken internally, like any other substance, are not exempted from side effects. Such is the case of the herb Damiana, which is typically used as an aphrodisiac. Common side effects of Damiana herb include indigestion, nausea, hormonal changes and mood swings. This herb is considered by FDA as generally safe, but high doses can put you at risk of certain health problems.
The manner of administration of Damiana plays a role in how the herb affects the body. The leaves are pulverized and used in making tea or soaked in alcohol to make a tincture. The Damiana capsules are available in many health food shops. Capsule forms of Damiana are generally safe for people to take regularly. However, smoking Damiana delivers high dosages of the herb to the body and may cause hallucinations, seizures and breathing difficulties. Some researchers said the Damiana leaf effect on the human brain is comparable to the effect of cannabis (marijuana).
There are several side effects of Damiana herb that are worth considering. The herb is considered to be safe when taken in minimal amounts but the risk heightens with the dosage. Large doses can potentially cause serious adverse effects to the body. The long-term effect of taking Damiana is still unknown.
The most common herb side effects are associated with the person’s mood. At normal doses, the person’s mood may improve, but at higher dosages, it causes disturbance of perceptions and emotions such as hallucination and mania. Generally, side effects from taking Damiana are mild but for those with pre-existing medical conditions, it should be taken with caution.
Both pregnant and nursing women should avoid taking Damiana leaf. Another common Damiana side effect is its ability to change the body hormonal system. In high doses, it can lead to cyanide toxicity due to cyanogenetic glycosides that are present in the leaf. Thus, nursing women and children must not take it. It can also lead to miscarriage for pregnant women. Damiana can also prevent iron absorption, hence it isn’t recommended for people with anemia. In high doses, Damiana may cause convulsions that are quite similar to the seizures caused by tetanus.
People with diabetes should consult a doctor before taking Damiana. One of the most common side effects of Damiana herb is hypoglycemia, which means that it can drop your blood sugar level too low. This can be dangerous for diabetics who are taking specific drugs intended to control blood sugar level. To counteract the effect, it is recommended to consume carbohydrate-rich foods together with Damiana. People with an elective surgery should stop taking the herb weeks prior to the schedule of operation to avoid any blood glucose problems during blood testing and examinations.
The side effects of Damiana herb can be prevented by taking the proper amount or dosage. Abusing this herb can cause detrimental effects on the body. Until today, there’s no certified approved dosage for Damiana because of the lack of research and study. However, taking 2-4 grams of Damiana leaf thrice a day is enough based on traditional dosages.