Monday, November 22, 2010

A Lion's Tail and its Curious Jubilation!

photo by ana traina

Leonitis Leonurus is also known as Lion’s TailMotherwort or Wild Dagga, it belongs to the mint family of plants. Its botanical name is derived from the shape and color of its bright orange flowers. Leonitis refers to the shape of the petals and is derived from the Greek words leon and otis, which mean lion and ear respectively. Leonurus refers to the vibrant hue and means lion colored. 
It produces whorls of bright orange flowers that graduate up the flower stalk giving it the appearance of a plant that would be right at home in Dr. Seuss’ Whoville.
This annual plant from Africa has a seed stalk over 6 foot tall.  They are a very unusual plant not seen in many places, and are unique and decorative both fresh and dried. Folk lore says the flowers are used as a mild euphoric. Hummingbirds simply adore this plant. 
Wild Dagga is smoked or made into a medicinal tea by the Hottentot tribe of South Africa. Because of its euphoric effects and marijuana-like experience, Wild Dagga is often referred to as a Cannabis substitute. Leonotis leonurus (Wild Dagga, Lion's Tail) species is also used in Eastern medicine as euphoriant, purgative, and vermifuge.
The main uses of lion’s tail in western herbal medicine are to relieve premenstrual discomfort, ease menopausal symptoms, and regulate menstrual periods. In addition, it may have some effectiveness for normalizing rapid heartbeat -- especially when a "pounding heart" is associated with anxiety.

Tea Recipe: prepared by soaking about 2 grams or about 1/4 of a teaspoon of dried Lion’s Tail in about 5 ounces of boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. The solid particles should be strained out and the somewhat bitter-tasting tea may be sweetened or flavored with other herbals such as ginger before drinking it. Usual recommendations are to drink one cup of motherwort tea three times a day.