Motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca, is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) and stems from Central Europe and Scandinavia. It’s been long cultivated in Europe to treat conditions of the heart, aid childbirth, combat muscular and uterine cramps and to promote feelings of well-being. In the past, people also used it to treat rheumatism and strengthen veins.
Pharmacological studies have confirmed its antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity, as well as its effects on the heart and the circulatory system.
Medicinal use of Motherwort
Heart – Motherwort is primarily an herb of the heart in both physical and emotional senses. It strengthens and protects the heart. It controls irregular heartbeat, treats heart palpitations and slows rapid heartbeat. It relaxes heart muscle cells, inhibits the formation of blood clots and treats inflammation of the heart muscle. It decreases blood viscosity which improves blood circulation in the vessels. It also uplifts the spirits and promotes a sense of well-being, a feeling that all is well and everything will work out.
Sedative – Motherwort has sedative properties which decrease muscle spasms, relieve menstrual cramps and slightly and temporarily lowers blood pressure.
Childbirth – If taken in early labor, Mothertwort eases labor pain and calms the nerves after childbirth. Then, you should wait until the postpartum bleeding stops before taking it again otherwise the bleeding may continue. After the bleeding has stopped, take Motherwort once or two times per day for a few weeks to reduce anxiety and avoid or treat postpartum depression.
Do not use it during pregnancy as it causes uterine contractions which may lead to abortion.
Menstruation – Motherwort helps bring on a delayed menstrual flow, particularly when someone is tense or anxious. It treats excessive menstrual flow as well as absence of menstruation. It soothes uterine cramps by strengthening and relaxing the muscles of the uterus. It also reduces anxiety and hot flashes during menopause. Combined with Dong quai (Angelica sinensis), it regulates menstrual flow.
Thyroid – It treats an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) without lowering thyroid function.
- Strengthens and protect the heart
- Controls irregular heartbeat
- Treats heart palpitations
- Slows rapid heartbeat
- Relaxes heart muscle cells
- Inhibits formation of blood clots
- Treats inflammation of the heart muscle
- Slightly lowers blood pressure
- Decrease muscle spasms
- Relieves menstrual cramps by relaxing uterine muscles
- Eases labor pain (when used in early labor)
- Calms the nerves after childbirth
- Reduces anxiety, especially when associated with childbirth, postpartum depression, and menopause
- Brings on a late menstrual flow, particularly when someone is tense or anxious
- Treats excessive menstrual flow as well as absence of menstruation
- Strengthens uterine muscle
- Treats an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) without lowering thyroid function
- Uplifts the spirits
- Promotes a sense of well-being and positive feelings
- Treats depression
- Stabilizes emotions
Iridoid (Ajugol, Galiridoside, Ajugosid)e, bitter compounds, flavonoids, 5-9% tannins, choline, cardiac glycosides and alkaloids (stachydrine, leonurinin).
4.5 g leaves for 8-10 weeks
Motherwort is easy to grow in most gardens as it is tolerant of most soils and light conditions. Sow the seeds directly in the garden in late Fall and let the winter stratify them for you. In Spring, protect seedlings against slug attack if you have this problem in your garden.
As any member of the mint family, it has the potential of taking over a large area by self seeding profusely, so clip off the flowers before they set seed.
Harvest the leaves and flowers in mid to late Summer and use them as soon as you pick them.
You can also dry them to make your preparations. Just lay the leaves and flowers on a screen for 3 to 5 days. Turn the leaves and flowers on the first two days to ensure even drying. Alternatively, use a dehydrator.
None. Motherwort is poisonous if you consume it in large quantities.
Motherwort causes uterine contractions, so don’t take it if you are pregnant.
Learn how to grow a gorgeous medicinal and culinary garden with Giovanna Becker
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