Botanical name: Leonotus leonurus
Other names: Wild Dagga, Lion’s Ear
Native to South Africa, Lion’s tail is an upright perennial bush with spikes of brilliant orange flowers. The nomadic KhoiSan tribe of Africa have used this plant traditionally both as a stimulant and inebriant for social occasions and as a medicine for all kinds of illnesses.
The leaves and flowers are traditionally smoked or chewed on ceremonial occasions, to induce trance-like states along with drumming and dancing. The roots were also brewed as a tea for these occasions. Lion’s tail is now a popular smoking alternative to tobacco or cannabis, giving a mild euphoric and uplifting effect.
The leaves and flowers are also brewed as a tea for medicinal uses including – upper respiratory infection, fever, headache, high blood pressure, hepatitis, muscle cramps and liver stagnation. The main active constituent leonurine has both antioxidant and cardioprotective properties.
Externally the tea, decoction, or diluted tincture can be used as a healing, pain-relieving and anti-itch wash or compress for skin conditions such as acne and eczema. It is also used as a poultice or compress for snake bites and stings.
Preparation: 1 tablespoon of chipped dried herb (10,0g) added to 3 cupfuls (500 ml) of boiling water, boil for 10 minutes, allow to cool overnight, strain and use clear liquid for both internal and external use. If fresh material is used, 3-4 young twigs (leaf and stem) are boiled with one litre of water.
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