Herb/Plant of the Week #2 :: Motherwort

It’s already time for the second Herb/Plant of the Week! Yay! This week we are doing another heart herb: MOTHERWORT


Botanical Latin Name: Leonurus Cardiaca

Botanical Family: Lamiaceae (mint) family

Parts used: aerial parts (all parts exposed completely to air)

Method: Tea and Tincture

Actions: Anti-spasmodic, Nervie, Uterine tonic, hypotensive, bitter, Cardiotonic, Emmenagogues

Energetics: Neutral to cool and drying

Taste: Very Bitter

Dosage: 1 tsp dried herb to 8 oz water for tea infusion and/or 20-40 drops 1-4 times daily of tincture

Contraindications: pregnancy or during breastfeeding, those on blood thinner medications and possibly those with hypothyroid

Motherwort is great for the heart, kidneys and uterus. The latin name Leonurus literally means “lionhearted” and is thus great to nourish and strengthen the heart and blood vessels. If taken daily it can help new blood vessels grow to the heart. It can also calm the heart and the nerves around it, thus helping with palpitations or hypertension.

It’s great for women’s health as well, in particular the uterus and helping with menstruation (inducing it for those that are delayed and helping to normalize the flow), abdominal pain - in particular after birth  - and for those going through menopause.

It can also help with liver health, digestion and the nervous system. Nutritionally she offers flavonoids, tannins and vitamin A. Motherwort can help to calm the nervous system by moving our body from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic. Because of this she can assist with racing thoughts and help us think through our actions more slowly and clearly. As well as anxiety and stress that is held in the stomach area.

Additionally, motherwort is known to be a very emotional healing herb. Specifically, when it comes to feeling your emotions and balancing those feelings. Herbalist and wise woman Kristin Schuch of Apothecary Tinctura in Denver, Colorado says motherwort “brings abundant peace and ease to all matters of the heart.”

Additional uses for Motherwort:

  • Reducing fever
  • Suppressing (retained) placenta
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Menstrual headaches
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Insomnia due to menopause
  • Herpes or shingles (and nerve pain from these)
  • Sciatica
  • Graves' disease or hyperthyroid
  • Melancholy
  • Restlessness
  • Disturbed sleep (emotional or physical) or wakefulness
  • Premenstrual cramps due to delayed menstruation
  • Bloating from menstruation
  • Hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings from menopause
  • Reduced appetite
  • Improves slow or sluggish digestion
  • Calms overactive thyroid
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Postpartum depression and anxiety

How to use Motherwort:

  • Tea can be used daily (1 tsp of the plant per cup and drink 1-3 cups daily) steep in hot water for 8-10 minutes, the longer you steep it the more the constituents, but also the more bitter. I had to add a healthy dose of honey to my cup that I steeped for 15 minutes, and it was still almost undrinkable. I prefer tincture or adding just a small amount to a blend of tea.
  • Tincture is the best form to use this herb,in my opinion. Use 1 dropper full (30 drops) 1-4 times daily for best results.

Here’s a recipe for tea to help with hot flashes for those going through menopause from Rosemary Gladstar’s book Herbal Remedies for Vibrant Health:

“Heat Relief”

2 parts black cohosh

2 parts motherwort

2 parts sage

1 part blue vervain

1 part chaste tree berry

mint to taste

After making this blend, use 1 teaspoon per 8 oz cup of water, steep for 30 minutes and strain. Then drink ¼ cup as a “dose” throughout the day up to 3 cups daily, depending on what you need for support.

Motherwort Image