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Damiana: Does It Actually Boost Testosterone?

Damiana leaf supplements are often marketed as “natural testosterone boosters.” Proponents claim the herb can increase testosterone levels and improve libido in men. But does damiana actually live up to these claims? We analyzed the scientific research to determine if damiana can boost testosterone or not. While damiana shows potential for enhancing sexual function, current evidence does not support it as an effective testosterone booster. Keep reading as we explore what the studies really show about damiana and testosterone.

What is Damiana Leaf?

Damiana leaf comes from a shrub native to Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. The leaves have been used in traditional medicine as an aphrodisiac. Damiana is said to boost libido and treat sexual dysfunction.

More recently, damiana leaf supplements have been marketed as “natural testosterone boosters.” But there is limited evidence that damiana increases testosterone levels.

Does Damiana Increase Testosterone? The Research

Several studies have examined whether damiana leaf affects testosterone levels. Here is what the research shows:

Animal Studies

  • A mouse study found damiana leaf extract reduced aromatase activity. Aromatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. By inhibiting aromatase, damiana could potentially increase testosterone. However, the study did not measure testosterone levels.
  • Another mouse study showed damiana leaf extract improved sexual behavior. But again, testosterone was not measured.

Human Studies

  • A clinical trial in 57 adult men found damiana leaf significantly improved erectile function and sexual satisfaction. However, there were no changes in testosterone levels.
  • A study tested several compounds, including damiana, for anti-aromatase activity. Damiana did reduce aromatase activity but did not increase testosterone in this trial.
  • One human study found damiana leaf protected against testicular damage caused by an antidepressant medication. But this does not prove an increase in baseline testosterone.

The Verdict: Damiana Likely Does Not Increase Testosterone

Based on the current research, there is no solid evidence that damiana leaf significantly increases testosterone levels in humans.

A few animal studies show potential effects on aromatase and sexual function. However, human trials have failed to demonstrate meaningful changes in testosterone. Any aromatase-inhibiting effects do not appear to translate into higher T.

At best, damiana may offer some protection against testosterone depletion caused by other factors. But it does not seem to increase testosterone production directly.

What Should You Take Instead for Low T?

Since damiana does not effectively increase testosterone, what are some better options for treating low T? Here are some science-backed alternatives:

Lifestyle Changes

  • Exercise – Strength training and high-intensity exercise can boost testosterone.
  • Healthy Diet – Ensure adequate protein, healthy fats, and micronutrients like zinc and vitamin D.
  • Stress Reduction – Chronic stress depletes testosterone. Try relaxation techniques.
  • Quality Sleep – Getting 7-9 hours per night supports healthy T levels.

Herbal Supplements

  • Tongkat Ali – Shown to increase testosterone and improve sexual function.
  • Ashwagandha – May increase T levels, reduce stress and cortisol.
  • D-Aspartic Acid – Can directly stimulate testosterone synthesis.

Medical Treatment

  • Testosterone Replacement – Doctor-prescribed TRT significantly increases testosterone.
  • Clomid – This drug stimulates the body’s own T production.

The Bottom Line

Damiana leaf has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac. But according to current research, it does not appear to increase testosterone levels significantly.

While damiana shows potential for improving libido and sexual function, its effects on testosterone are unproven. Those with low T should focus on lifestyle changes and medical treatment. Damiana may provide some additional benefit, but likely modest at best.

Further large, high-quality studies are needed to determine if damiana has any true testosterone-boosting activity in humans. The scientific evidence does not support damiana as an effective natural T-booster.

About the author

Holden Desalles is a journalist in the new wellness space, covering topics such as CBD, adaptogens, and nootropics. He was formerly a staff writer at the millennial lifestyle website Thought Catalog.

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