Leonotis leonurus, also known as Lion's Tail or Wild Dagga Is a member of the mint family of plants. It is grown as an annual and can grow as tall as fifteen feet in one season. The leaves resemble a mint plant and the entire plant has quite a lovely smell to it. The stems are wood like and thick and the smaller branches coming off the main stalk are almost a square shape. The flower heads are covered in prickly spikes while the petals are brilliant orange and are resemble a lion’s mane.
All parts of wild dagga can be used medicinally. Extracts and tinctures can be used for relieving coughs, colds and flu symptoms, fever reduction, bronchitis, tuberculosis, hepatitis, jaundice, regulating the menstrual cycle, headaches, and for lowering blood pressure. The leaf and root of the plant can be dried and made into a decoction and applied externally to treat a variety of disorders. This remedy is often used in the treatment of eczema, itching skin, insect bites and stings, rashes, hemorrhoids, and boils. It is also used for treating muscle and joint pain associated with arthritis. In many countries it is also used as a snake bite remedy both internally and externally.When the stems and stalks are added to a bath, they alleviate itching and muscular cramps.
In African countries, wild dagga leaves are commonly made into a medicinal tea, which is favored for the hypnotic focus it gives . The petals of the flowers can also be dried and smoked supposedly for a mild opium type effect and the leaves are commonly smoked as a tobacco substitute. Believe me it tastes terrible, if it was all I had to smoke, I would in a hurry become a non smoker. The flower petals are supposed to be the most potent part for smoking but from my own experience, the “buzz” from it only lasts a few minutes and it tends to upset the stomach so it kind of off sets any euphoric effects it may have. I thus far have not tried to make a tea to drink, as it is said to have a purgative effect and I just do not feel like testing it out to see for myself. I personally prefer to use it as a decoction or poultice for skin ailments than trying to actually ingest the stuff. I have not been sick in so long that I can't say how well a tincture works either, but I have it sitting in a cupboard just in case.
While there are no known side effects from using wild dagga it should be avoided while pregnant or nursing. Just like every other plant or weed used medicinally, use caution until you know you are not going to react to it. This plant is perfectly legal to grow in all 50 states so there are no worries about the legalities of growing it, although, to purchase from anywhere one must be 18.
I wonder how well it would work in a potpourri or a air freshener type bag?