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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Leonotis nepetaefolia – Wild Dagga (seed)

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Leonotis nepetaefolia or Wild Dagga is a member of the Lamiaceae family, originally from Africa. Smoked as a relaxing and slightly inebriating herb. Also known as Tilley’s Curse.

Care and Cultivation

Leonotis nepetaefolia seeds can be sown in spring or the warmer months, 0.5 – 1cm under the surface of a well drained potting mix in full sun. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. Once they begin to crowd each other they can be potted up individually or planted directly into the garden. Perennial herb to 2 metres. Should be cut back after flowering to encourage new growth.

50 seeds per packet

(The following is from an interesting research paper)

Structural Studies on Three Plant Diterpenoids from Leonotis nepetaefolia. L. GOVINDASAMY, V. RAJAKANNAN, D. VELMURUGAN, S. BANUMATHI1,

Leonotis nepetaefolia is one of the 41 species of Labiatae spread all over the country. It is used to treat bronchial asthma, diarrhoea, fever, influenza and malaria, and is also an analgesic. Phytochemical analysis has revealed that L.nepetaefolia contains, amongst many constituents, labdanic acid (BAGHY et al., 1965), the diterpene methoxynepetaefolin, the terpenic alcohols nepetaefolinol and leonotinine and a coumarin, characterized as 4,6,7-trimethoxy -5-methylchromen -2-one.

The pharmacological actions of the crude hydroalcoholic extract and stems of tea extracts obtained from Leonotis nepetaefolia may be purported for anti-asthmatic and anti-diarrhoeal properties. Current anti-asthmatic therapy is based mainly on the use of the drugs which act either via stimulation of b2-adrenoceptors, such as terbutaline and salbutamol, or by inhibition of smooth muscle phosphodiesterase, such as thecophylline. It is suggested that the pharmacological effects of the extracts of L. nepetaefolia may result from potentiation of the cAMP system. Considering that the extracts of L. nepetaefolia could potentially exhibit a profile of activity similar to that of b-adrenoceptor agonists and /or phosphodiesterase inhibitors, their effects on tracheal, ileal and uterine smooth muscle, as well as on cardiac muscle were examined.

Leonotis nepetaefolia is one of the important Ayurvedic herbal drug known as Grantiparani in Sanskrit. Phytochemical examination of this plant parts yielded different diterpenoids of labdane type. This plant exhibited various biological activities viz. antifungal, anti-malarial, anti-cancer, hypotensive and has attributed to a variety of salutary physiological effects. The essential oil of L.nepetaefolia was tested for its anti-bacterial activity against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria and was found to be moderately active. The essential oil was also found to be inhibitory to dermatophytic fungi and suppressive to other aerial fungi. The oil may be quite useful in skin infections due to dermatophytes even with secondary bacterial infections.

The plant is reported to be useful in skin infections and also as a laxative and narcotic. A decoction of the leaves is used as tonic and to cure burns. The seeds possess feeble anti-malarial acitivity. The seed extract exhibited toxicity against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. Ash from the flowers is treated against burns.


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