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Valentine.gr  

November 2013

Did you know that the ornamental plant Leonotis leonurus has psychoactive properties similar to Cannabis?

Lion's Ear (Leonotis leonurus). Hummingbird on flowers

Lion's Ear - Wild Dagga - Leonotis leonurus

Leonotis leonurus, also known as  Lion's Ear, Lion's Tail and Wild Dagga, is a plant species in the Lamiaceae (mint) family. The plant is a broadleaf evergreen large shrub native to South Africa and southern Africa, where it is very common. It is known for its medicinal and mild psychoactive properties. The main psychoactive component of Leonotis leonurus is leonurine.

The name  Leonotis comes from the Greek leon meaning lion and otis meaning ear, alluding to the resemblance of the corolla to a lion's ear. leonurus = lion-coloured. Common Names: Lion’s Ear, Lion’s Tail, Wild Dagga, Dacha, Daggha (Africa), Wild Hemp, Minaret Flower, Flor de Mundo, Mota (Mexico).

The wild dagga is a robust shrub which grows up to 2-3m tall and 1.5m wide. It is common and widespread throughout South Africa and grows amongst rocks in grassland. The medium-dark green 10-20–10 cm long leaves are narrow, rough above, velvety below, with serrate edges and aromatic when crushed. The plant has tubular orange flowers in tiered whorls, typical to the mint family, that encircle the square stems. They rise above the foliage mass during the summer season, with flowering continuing into winter in warmer climates. A white variety (known colloquially as 'Alba'), as well as a yellow variety also exist.

In its native habitats Leonotis leonurus attracts nectivorous birds (mainly sunbirds), as well as various insects such as butterflies. The flowers' mainly orange to orange-red colour and tubular shape are indicative of its co-evolution with African sunbirds, which have curved bills suited to feeding from tubular flowers.

L. leonurus favors warm, dry climates and is drought-tolerant, though it may be grown in almost any temperate environment including shrublands, grasslands, and swamplands. Leonotis leonurus can especially be found in other subtropical and Mediterranean climate regions beyond South Africa such as California, Mexico, Hawai, and the Caribbean, and has become naturalized in Western Australia and New South Wales in Australia. While it can grow in the spring and summer months in temperate climes if well protected and in full sun, it does not endure frost well and may not survive winter unless brought indoors. 

Leonotis leonurus is cultivated as an ornamental plant for its copious orange blossom spikes and accent or screening qualities for use in gardens and parks. It is a moderate drought tolerant plant, and a nectar source for birds and butterflies in landscape settings.

Leonotis leonurus  propagates via seeds that, in temperate climates, must be sown indoors before the last frost or outdoors after the last frost. To collect seeds from the plant, allow the seedheads to dry before collection. If properly cleaned, the seeds can be successfully stored. Propagateó allso from cuttings or by dividing up large clumps. In warmer climates, the shrub can grow in the wild.

Leonotis leonurus has long been used in traditional African herbal medicine. The leaves and roots of Leonotis leonurus contain the medicinal constituents that make wild dagga an often-used remedy for a wide variety of ailments including fevers, headaches, dysentery, flu, chest infections, epilepsy, constipation, delayed menstruation, intestinal worms, spider bites, scorpion stings, hypertension and snakebites. Externally, it is often used for hemorrhoids, eczema, skin rashes and boils.

Its leaves and flowers have been used regularly in some African tribes as a medicinal tea that can induce a hypnotic mood and relieve anxiety and depression. Many believe that the trance state induced by drinking the tea can help a person overcome emotional trauma as well.

One experimental animal study suggests that "the aqueous leaf extract of Leonotis leonurus possesses antinociceptive, antiinflammatory, and hypoglycemic properties; thus lending pharmacological credence to folk usage of the herb in the management and/or control of painful, arthritic, and other inflammatory conditions, as well as for adult-onset, type-2 diabetes mellitus in some communities of South Africa."

An animal study in rats indicated that in high doses, lion's tail has significant toxicological adverse effects on organs, red blood cells, white blood cells and other important bodily functions.

The dried leaves and flowers have a mild calming effect when smoked. In some users, the effects have been noted to be similar to the cannabinoid THC found in Cannabis, except that it has a much less potent high. It has also been reported to cause mild euphoria, visual changes, dizziness, nausea, sweating, sedation and lightheadedness. The main psychoactive component of Leonotis leonurus is the active alkaloid leonurine. Some cultures have been known to smoke it with cannabis or as a marijuana substitute; we do not advocate this use of the plant and all information herein is provided for historical and educational purposes.

In Africa, the Hottentot tribe and the Bushmen are known to smoke the buds and leaves of the wild dagga plant as inebriants, either alone or mixed with tobacco. L. leonurus is used by the Kaffirs for recreational purposes, and the Nama tribespeople chew quids of powdered leaves to produced psychoactive effects. Similarly, in Mexico where wild dagga is known as flor de mundo (“flower of the world”) and mota (a colloquial name for marijuana), the plant is used as a Cannabis.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonotis_leonurus
http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantklm/leonotisleon.htm
http://entheology.com/plants/leonotis-leonurus-lions-tail/
http://www.wisegeek.com/
what-are-the-medical-uses-of-leonotis-leonurus.htm#didyouknowout

 

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Water Banana - Typhonodorum lindleyanum
Salak - Salacca zalacca
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Marimo - Aegagropila linnaei
Achocha/Caigua - Inca cucumber - Cyclanthera pedata
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Sugar cane - Saccharum officinarum
Sacha inchi - Plukenetia volubilis
Coffea - Coffee Tree - Coffea arabica
Liquorice - Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra
Mullein -Verbascum thapsus
Iceplant - Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
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Roselle - Hibiscus sabdariffa
Black Goji - Lycium ruthenicum Murray
Rose Cactus - Pereskia grandifolia
Durian - Durio zibethinus
Jackfruit tree - Artocarpus heterophyllus
Cassabanana - Sicana odorifera
Chilean myrtle - Arrayan - Luma apiculata
Kurrajong - Brachychiton populneus
Rice-paper Plant -Tetrapanax papyrifer
Shell Ginger - Alpinia zerumbet
Harlequin Glorybower - Clerodendrum trichotomum
Coco de Mer - Lodoicea maldivica
Silver Tree - Leucadendron argenteum
Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
Himalayan Honeysuckle - Leycesteria formosa
Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
Borojo - Alibertia patinoi - Borojoa patinoi
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Ombu - Phytolacca dioica
Lion's Ear - Wild Dagga - Leonotis leonurus
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Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum
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Dead Man’s Fingers - Decaisnea
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Monkey Ladder - Sea Heart - Entada gigas
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Chilean Firebush - Embothrium coccineum
Caesalpinia - Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Welwitschia - Welwitschia mirabilis
Saguaro - Carnegiea gigantea
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis
Monarda - Bee balm - Bergamot
Tamarind - Tamarindus indica
Neomarica - Walking Iris
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Jade vine - Strongylodon macrobotrys
Sansevieria - Snake Plant
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Pickerel Weed - Pontederia
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Astilbe - False Goats Beard
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Sweet Box - Sarcococca
Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera
Foxtail Lily - Eremurus
Rue - Ruta graveolens
Pittosporum
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Rose of Jericho - Anastatica hierochuntica
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Calico Flower - Aristolochia
Daylily - Hemerocallis
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Torch Ginger - Etlingera elatior
Mistletoe - Viscum album
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Teasel - Dipsacus
Pampas grass - Gynerium argenteum - Cortaderia Selloanna
Purple coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
Coral Tree - Erythrina crista-galli
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Calendula - Marigold
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Canna - Indian Shot
Witch Hazel - Hamamelis
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Artichoke - Cynara scolymus
Clivia - Clivia Miniata
Dipladenia - Dipladenia sanderii
Date palm - Phoenix dactylifera
Peach - Prunus persica
Almond - Prunus amygdalus
Willow - Salix
Pomegranate - Punica granatum
Protea cynaroides
Colchicum autumnale
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Cardon - Pachycereus pringlei
Wolffia arrhiza
Puya raimondii
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Primula - Primerose
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Edelweiss - Leontopodium alpinum
Helleborus Niger - Christmas Rose
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Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperial
Aster
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Bee Orchid - Orphys apifera
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Syringa Vurgaris - Lilac
Viola
Impantiens
Snowdrop - Galanthus
Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
Dionaea muscipula
Banksia
Sea anemone
Amorrhophallus titanum
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