Properties and Uses of Damiana.

Botanical name: 

Selected writings of John King.

Dr. King was too good a therapeutist to be easily duped, and the article selected betrays his caution when writing upon drugs introduced with extravagant claims. He not only gave a short notice of this then much-vaunted drug (for all drugs must be included in a Dispensatory, which is a compilation and commentary), but he sounds the warning of doubt, and time has proved that he was right. Perhaps the best that can be said of Damiana to-day is that it is a harmless stimulant comparable in some measure to common tea, and that very weak tonic properties may be possessed by it. As an aphrodisiac it is now thoroughly discredited, except by those whose commercial instincts impel them to continue to sell a drug that once filled their coffers and lent the glamour of mysterious powers to the advertising side of medicine.—Ed. Gleaner.

PROPERTIES AND USES OF DAMIANA.—This drug has been almost eulogized for its positive aphrodisiac effects, acting energetically upon the genito-urinary organs in both sexes, removing impotence in the one, and frigidity in the other, whether due to abuses or to age. Many physicians who have tried it deny its possession of such virtues, but the friends of the drug attribute their failures to the use of the spurious articles. It will very likely be found to possess laxative, tonic, and diuretic properties only; and the aphrodisiac effects following its use no more prove that these belong to it, than the same effects that not infrequently appear after the employment of many other agents prove that such agents possess similar excitant virtues. The dose of the fluid extract is from half a fluidrachm to half a fluidounce.—JOHN KING, Supplement to American Dispensatory.

The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.