Good morning from a warmer and drier Hastings day. I have my Social Snappers group today and we are heading over to Havelock North to a stream for some water photography. My group is growing and we are really enjoying discovering new sights around where we live. One of the ladies has got a new camera so wants me to help her learn about it.
Last Wednesday one of the ladies from my group and I headed over to Napier to the Centennial Gardens. The weather turned lousy on us but there is a big waterfall there so I was able to work on some long exposures.
I also found this plant there – and when I looked it up I was surprised to find out it’s properties on Wikipedia.
Leonotis leonurus, also known as 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.
n 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.
This photo was taken at Frimley Gardens and the butterflies are mad about it. Now I know why.
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.[unreliable source?] It has also been reported to cause mild euphoria, visual changes, dizziness, nausea, sweating, sedation and lightheadedness.
It is sometimes used as a Cannabis substitute by recreational users as an alternative to illegal psychoactive plants. Leonotis leonorus is not currently scheduled under federal law in the United States.
The picked and dried leaves are also commonly brewed as a tea.
Maybe I should sneak around and take some leaves to dry to make some tea??????
Toxicology and pharmacology
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. Acute toxicity tests in animals caused death for those receiving 3200 mg/kg dose. At 1600 mg/kg extract led to changes in red blood cells, hemoglobin concentration, mean corpuscular volume, platelets, and white blood cells. 
Leonurine has both antioxidant and cardioprotective propertiesand shown to significantly improve myocardial function (XinHua, 2010).
But it seems one must be careful.
Thanks for visiting.