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A Note on this Materia Medica

Each botanical write up is compiled from my notes taken at various herbal schools, favorite herb books and personal experience. This information is for general health and information only. Nothing contained in the herbal monographs should be taken as medical advice. People passionate about living a holistic lifestyle and the uses of plant medicine will find something of interest here. This project is dedicated to my love of herbs and a place where I can share with others who feel the same. This is a work in progress and as I go through my notes and continue my studies I will be updating and adding new herbs. Thank you for being here!

-Colleen, Head Witch

MOTHERWORT

Leonurus cardiaca 

Common Names: Motherwort, Lions Ear, Lions Tail
Family: Lamiaceae
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
Planet: Venus
Element: Water

Medicinal Preparations:

Tincture: 1-3 or 1:4   Dry (ratio & % alcohol): 1:5 60%
Drops: 20-60   Times a day: 4x

Tea:  Hot infusion   Ounces: 4-8   Times a day: 4x

Habitat and Botanical Description:

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.

Medicinal Uses:

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. 

Harvesting:

Using gloves, harvest the flowering tops mid to late summer   

Contraindications:

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. 

 

Sources:

  • Grieve, M. (1971). A Modern Herbal. New York, NY: Dover Publications. (Original work published 1931)
  • Hoffman, D. The Complete Herbs Sourcebook. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing; 2016
  • Sinadinos, C. Northwest School for Botanical Studies. Lecture Notes; 2014
  • Sinadinos, C. The essential guide to Western Botanical Medicine. Fieldbrook, CA; 2020

Disclosure: This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.