Medicinal Motherwort


| 5/5/2017 4:29:00 PM


Tags: Motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca, nervine, Hannah Kincaid,

My first experience with motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) was enough to make me a life-long believer of this plant’s supportive actions. I was going through a particularly stressful period of time, during which I was juggling a looming deadline, a beloved pet’s unexpected injury, and a painful anniversary of a family member’s death. I hadn’t dealt with my stress well, and it was starting to manifest as tightness in my throat and a fluttery, anxious heartbeat.

I mentioned my symptoms to an herbalist friend, who suggested I try motherwort. The following day, I did just that. I diluted 2 dropperfuls of motherwort tincture in a small amount of water, drank it, and then returned to my work. About 20 minutes later, my cyclical and stressful thoughts of “Hurry up! Hurry up! You’re on deadline!” started to surface. Almost immediately, however, those thoughts seemed to hit a wall and it felt as though I was being reminded that I didn't need to go down that anxious road. That mental wall was so obvious that it actually took me off guard and I had to remind myself that I'd recently taken a bit of motherwort tincture. Up to that point, my other experiences with plant-based medicines had been more gentle and gradual, so I was pretty taken aback. As a result of such clear and obvious personal results, motherwort is now my go-to plant ally for helping to ease nervous tension.

Motherwort plant
Adobe stock/Anastasiia Malin

Motherwort’s Healing Properties

After my positive experience with motherwort, I planted the herb in my garden and began familiarizing myself with the plant’s other benefits. I learned that, as I had experienced, motherwort is a supportive nervine, helping to release the anxiety and tension that accompany stress. It’s approved by the German Commission E for nervous cardiac disorders and for thyroid hyperfunction. It’s also sedative, diuretic, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), emmenagogue (stimulates or increases menstrual flow), and antispasmodic.

“Wort” means “to heal,” and as the common name “motherwort” implies, the plant has been used by mothers for centuries and was a common component in midwive’s baskets. According to herbalist Susan Weed, one of motherwort’s uses is to reduce anxiety associated with childbirth, postpartum depression, and menopause (but should not be taken during pregnancy due to its emmenagogue properties). In traditional Chinese medicine, motherwort is combined with dong quai to help regulate the menses cycle and reduce symptoms of PMS.

The plant’s botanical name, Leonurus cardiac, means “lion hearted” and is thought to relate to either the flower spike’s resemblance to a lion’s tail or the plant's traditional use as a cardiac tonic. Motherwort’s common and botanical names combine to provide wonderful clues to its healing properties. After taking my first motherwort tincture I felt exactly as though a protective, lion-hearted mother stood over me and said, “Listen up. I love you, but you need to calm down and drop this stressful attitude. Enough is enough.” That impression gave me the strength and courage to carry on with a better attitude and a braver heart.




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