Common Names: Motherwort, Lions Ear, Lions Tail
Part/s Used: Flowering tops + Leaves
Energetics: Cooling, drying
Taste: Bitter, acrid, astringent, pungent, spicy
Actions: Nervine, anxiolytic, moderate sedative, emmenagogue, cardiac tonic, anti spasmodic
Constituents: Bitter glycosides including leonurine, alkaloids including leonuinine, volatile oil, tannins
Tincture: 1-3 or 1:4 Dry (ratio & % alcohol): 1:5 60%
Tea: Hot infusion Ounces: 4-8 Times a day: 4x
Motherwort is an herbaceous perennial native to Europe but found throughout the temperate regions of the world in gardens and grown for its medicinal purposes. It is an upright prickly bush with opposite dark green leaves and furry purple or pink flowers that grow in whorls alternating up the stem. It self-seeds freely and the roots can continue for many years.
Motherwort has a special affinity to women throughout their lives. It is an effective tonic for treating hormone imbalances such as night sweats, irritation, rage and hot flashes. Motherwort is useful for a stagnant uterus from anxiety and tension which can suppresses menses,and in this case, would act an emmenagogue (Take up to two weeks prior to menses). It is a blood mover that sheds the lining, stimulating uterine contractions. Some women will use motherwort to bring on labor and hasten delivery (use a low dose a week before 10-30 drops 1-3x daily, increasing to no more than 5x). Leonurus can be used postpartum after a stressful labor and milk won’t let down. A mild galactagogue, used in low doses (evaporate alcohol) and helpful in postpartum anxiety and depression. A woman can take motherwort into the premenopausal years (typically 45-50 years old) to ease symptoms.
Leonurus is a mild cardiotonic treating all conditions of the heart that are associated with anxiety and tension. It contains glycosides that reduce heart palpitations (acute). Motherwort can slow and steady the heart rate, lower blood pressure and stress induced high blood pressure. It is energetically a very calming and motherly herb and can be comforting with heart issues from excessive stress or grief.
Leonurus is an effective nervine and is used in sympathetic or adrenergic stress as well as symptoms of hyperthyroidism which can disrupt hormones. It will steady rapid heartbeat from these conditions and its nervine properties help reduce panic attacks, decreases anxiety help with insomnia related to an overactive thyroid gland.
Motherwort is a digestive bitter (the tea is rather challenging to drink so tincture is often preferred) helping stimulate the digestive system. Relieves constipation due to anxious tension. It is a mild laxative because of its cholagogue properties which can also be effective for treating gas and bloating.
Harvest the flowering tops (using gloves) mid to late summer
Do not use when hemorrhaging and avoid with heavy menses. Do not use when pregnant except to bring on labor as it causes mild uterine contractions. Contraindicated for women with endometriosis or fibroids. Do not use with hypothyroidism. Fresh herbs can cause contact dermatitis.
Northwest School for Botanical Studies by Christa Sinadinos
The Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve
The Monographs by The Herbal Academy
The Complete Herbs Sourcebook by David Hoffman