“Mothers Little Helper”
Common Names: Lion’s Tail, Lion’s Ear, Motherwomb, Heart of Mother, Heartwort, Throwwort
Botanical Name: Leonurus cardiaca
Plant Family: Lamiaceae, Mint Family
Parts Used: Flowering tops
Actions: Nervine, antispasmodic, hypotensive, vermifuge, emmenogogue, cardiovascular tonic, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, digestive bitter, diuretic, uterine tonic
Habitat: Motherwort is commonly found in the garden. It can be quite aggressive and spread if the habitat is right for it. I have also seen Motherwort growing wild in Minnesota and more southern states of the Mid-West. Motherwort can grow up to 6-feet tall. In its first year of growth, its leaves grow in a basal rosette. In its second year of growth it will put on a flowering stem with light pink, “lip-shaped” flowers.
Collection: Collect Motherwort when it is in full flower (this can be late spring-summer). I find that the Motherwort in my garden flowers a few times a year after I harvest it consistently. Make sure to wear gloves or be prepared to prick yourself…Motherwort is quite spiky.
Heart & Circulation
Primarily an herb of the heart. One of my mentors was quite fond of using Motherwort for the emotional and spiritual benefits for the heart. She said that Hawthorn was like “putting on a wet blanket for support” (suffocating), yet Motherwort gives you the comfort you need without being over-bearing… With that said, Motherwort can be taken for heart-break, grief, and lack of heart.
Motherwort is a mild hypotensive herb that can help decrease hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure). This has been studied with patients that also experience anxiety and sleep disorders. A tincture of Motherwort is most effective in the case. It can also be used for heart palpitations and often hyperthyroidism. Combine Motherwort with Lemon balm and Bugleweed for hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of anxiety can be lack of sleep, increased heart rate of hypertension. Motherwort calms a rapid, fluttering pulse that is generally associated with nervousness and anxiety. Any heart conditions associated with anxiety and tension can find relief with Motherwort.
Another mentor of mine said that woman have two hearts. She held her heart in her chest and her heart in her uterus. Blood flows from both of those hearts and helps women balance themselves. Depending on where you are at within your cycle, Motherwort has a long history as a women’s tonic.
Motherwort can be taken for:
- Painful and delayed Menstruation
- Delayed Labor
- Delayed Afterbirth
- Hot Flashes
- Anxiety due to Menopause
Motherwort is an emmenogogue, which can promote delayed menstruation. It can also help tonify the uterus to prevent menstrual cramps or scanty, delayed menses. There have also been good results with motherwort’s ability to help women with delayed labor or to dispel the afterbirth postpartum. I have met many menopausal women that combine Motherwort with Black Cohosh to help ease their angst as well as reduce their hot flashes. It’s a relaxing tonic for aiding in menopausal changes.
Motherwort can also support Mamas. Some women take it for love, nourishment and tonification... ah, to be held by a mother!
Motherwort should not be used during pregnancy nor while breastfeeding. It is also advised not to consume this herb if there is menstrual flooding.
Plant Preparations: Tincture, Oil, Tea (but watch out, Motherwort is BITTER and not the most enjoyable sipping tea)
The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman
The Earthwise Herbal; A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants by Mathew Wood
Featured Herb; Motherwort by Rosalee de la Forêt
The Herbal Menopause Book by Amanda McQuade Crawford
Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra
Herbal Roots Zine: Marvelous Motherwort by Kristine Brown