Wild Dagga (Leonotis leonurus) Species Confusion
Wild Dagga is a nickname used for a wide
variety of plants from the leonurus strain of plants of the Mint
family. The leonurus plant got this nickname as being an alternative
to marijuana or "Dagga" in South Africa. In Mexico a strain of
leonurus is given the nickname MARIHUANILLA or (Little marijuana).
Strains of leonurus have been used all over the world for medicinal
purposes as well. It is said to have a calming affect and is used in
some cultures to relieve addiction. There are several
varieties, often unwittingly offered on websites that are not true
Wild Dagga. Below is a discussion of the most common species
ordered. What the entheogen enthusiast is looking for is
Leonotis leonurus or "Lion's Tail."
Leonurus sibericus (Siberian Motherwort)
Also known as MARIHUANILLA
(Little marijuana). This is the strain most often sold on
"legal high" websites becuase it is plentiful and the plants
produces resinous buds that look somewhat similar to Cannabis.
Unfortunately, this strain is low in leonurine, the active
component sought after by those interested in entheogens.
The inhabitants of the rugged and remote mountainous region in
the Mexican state of Chiapis call this herb Marahuanilla. It is
also known by as Siberean Mugwort and as Chinese Motherwort, and
has been used traditionally in Chinese medicine to treat
infections, circulatory and menstruation disorders, as well as
for constipation, boils, snake and insect bites.
Leonotis nepetifolia (Lion's Ear/Klip Dagga)
Also known as Lion's Ear. This
strain of Wild Dagga is an annual, and is most often confused
for Leonurus leonotis, or "Lion's Tail." The leaves on
this strain are much wider and heart shaped, unlike the Lion's
Tail, which has long, narrow leaves. This strain is
supposed to contain more leonurine than any other strain of Wild
Dagga, but this has never been documented by lab work. Grows very quickly to
8' tall and likes full sun. Flowers occur in globes (2.5-3.4 cm)
slightly prickly to touch with thin leaves immediately
underneath. Flowers are orange and tubular with four stamens
with white filaments. Stem
is very rigid and square, plant is taprooted. Common in fallow
Leonurus artemisia (Yi-mu-cao/Chinese Motherwort)
According to Steven Foster's
wonderful book, Herbal Emissaries, L. artemisia is the true
Chinese motherwort, not L. sibericus. A self-seeding annual,
this is the smallest and most delicate of the motherworts.
Willing to grow in the poorest soils, plants should be thinned
to eight inches. Again, this plant is easily controlled by
hoeing out seedlings that might appear where you don't want
them. Grow specs: 3-4 feet. Average soil. Full sun.
Leonurus cardacia (Common Motherwort)
This strain of wild dagga is a Perennial, has lavender flowers
and likes full sun to part shade. Not a native to the
United States, but brought here as as useful herb by early
settlers from Europe. This plant was used as a heart (cardiac)
stimulant by herb doctors, and also for women's disorders (which
is why "mother" is part of the name). This plant was found in
everyone's herb garden along with the other old-fashioned
standards like catnip and tansy. The pale lavender flowers
cluster in a whorl around the square stem. Each whorl of flowers
sits at the base of the pair of leaves.
Leonurus leonurus (Lion's Tail)
This is the most widely
distributed plant, and the true "Wild Dagga" known for its
mildly euphoric qualities. This plant emits a wonderfully
pungent lemon scent when its growing, and needs lots of sun but
very little water. This plant is a perennial has orange flowers, needs a
very long growing season. When buying Wild Dagga on the
Internet, this is most likely the foliage and flowers that you
Further Articles for Wild Dagga
Wild Dagga Species Confusion - An easy to read comparison.
Diterpenoids of Leonurus leonotus - An interesting clinical
Experience Report - A positive story by an unknown author.
Traditional, and Medical Uses for Wild Dagga - Explained in
Wild Dagga - Cultivating Leonotis leonurus plants.
of Leonurus (Mint Family) - From the Herba database.
Tribes and Wild Dagga - Brief history of who the Hottentot's
Africa's Nature - One explorer's account.
of Leonurine - A brief abstract.
- The True Dagga Plant - Ancient plant with many uses.