Understanding the Differences Between Kava and Damiana

Differences Between Damiana and Kava | Root of Happiness

Many herbs have similarities, including how they are consumed and the benefits they offer. While some, like kava and damiana are similar, they are not the same.

Every herb comes from a different part of the country and from various parts of the plant. Some are extracted from a root, like kava kava, while others are made from leaves, stems or flowers.

With such an easy access to herbs and alternative therapies, at-home users are becoming more like scientists. They mix and match herbs in hopes to produce a certain effect. This can be dangerous is the wrong herbs are mixed.

Some people are mixing kava and damiana. If you only use kava, then you know you do not need to mix anything with it for it to benefit you. Damiana users are claiming to need a little extra, so they mix it with kava.

These two herbs are quite different, from their origins to effects.


Kava is taken from the root of the piper methysticum plant found in the South Pacific Islands such as Hawaii and Fiji. It has been a well-respected plant in Oceana for thousands of years. It was first used before important ceremonies and rituals.

Kava is now enjoyed around the world. It can only be harvested in the South Pacific, making it more special than other plants.

Damiana grows sub-tropically in areas of the southeastern United States, specifically Texas. It can also be found in Africa and Mexico.

Damiana comes from the turneraceae plant family and is often called turnera diffusa. It is derived from the dried leaves of the plant.  It was also used before ceremonies and events. Damiana was traded among the Aztecs and Mayans and is still used today.

Damiana can be grown in your back yard if you are living in the right growing zones.


Kava contains kavalactones which determine the potency of the effects. Kavalactones have chemotypes that determine what types of effects it will deliver.

All damiana’s chemical components have yet to be identified. However, researchers do report it contains flavonoids, volatile oil, essential oils, and cyanogenic glycosides. It also contains tannin, arbutin, thymol and a little bit of phosphorous. These are not nearly all the components.


Kava is well known for its ability to relax the mind and body, while still allowing you to stay mental alert. Kava eases muscle tension and gives you an overall feeling of goodwill. Many report feeling sociable and in a great mood.

Kava is replacing alcohol around the world due to its ability to calm you down after a stressful day at work, without leaving you with a hangover.

Damiana is mostly known for its aphrodisiac effects. There is very little research on damiana so most of the claims of effects are from personal accounts. There are a few studies claiming damiana reduces tension and has a calming effect.

Other damiana users claim it is good for use as a laxative and digestive issues, as well as for cleansing the liver and bladder.


Both plants are known for their relaxing and calming abilities. If you are feeling nervous, kava can ease this symptom. There are many benefits of kava, as it is also used to lift your mood when you are feeling sad, as well as help you get a good night’s sleep.

Both kava and damiana are associated with losing weight, according to some reports.

It seems odd that an herb can act as both a laxative and a sexual stimulant, but that is exactly what damiana claims it does. Its relaxant qualities are associated with easing menstrual cramps and asthma. It also has antiseptic qualities that help eliminate some infections.

How it is Prepared and Consumed

Kava tea is the most common way kava is consumed. If you are in the South Pacific, kava is prepared by pounding the root into a powder form. You then mix the powder with water and strain through a cloth. The liquid that is strained is what you consume.

Kava can be purchased in powder, liquid, capsules and even edible forms. It can be bought in ready mix packages that make it simple to use on a regular basis.

Damiana can be smoked as well as consumed. You can purchase the dried leaves and either smoke them or drink them in tea form. Or, you can buy infusions, tinctures or capsules.

Following the instructions offered on the packaging is the best way to take both kava and damiana.

Mixing Kava and Damiana

There are people who claim when they take damiana they don’t feel as strong effects as they would like. Instead of taking more damiana, they are choosing to mix it with kava.

People who use kava will likely tell you they do not need anything else mixed with their kava drink. Kava offers just the right potency for users to experience all the beneficial effects.

While it is unlikely to harm you, mixing damiana and kava can be done, but is not necessary if you are drinking kava only.

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