Lion's Tail

October 31, 2015

Lion's Tail

October 31, 2015
Posted in: Nature | Reading Time: 1 minute

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Leonotis leonurus, Lion's Tail, belonging to the Lamiaceae (mint) family), is native to South Africa. I found this one in Santa Cruz Mountains. The shrub grows 3-6' tall, 1.5-3.5' wide, flowering in the summer and fall season and into winter in warmer climates.  It's known for its medicinal and mild psychoactive properties. It's main psychoactive component is leonurine.  In high doses, lions tail is toxic to organs, red blood cells and white blood cells, and can cause death.  On the other hand, the plant has both antioxidant properties and has been shown to significantly improve myocardial function.. The dried leaves and flowers have a mild calming effect when smoked,  similar to Cannabis, but much less potent. It is not scheduled under federal law in the US. The dried leaves are also commonly brewed in tea.

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