Motherwort: The Lion-Hearted Herb
Motherwort hails from the mint family and thrives in heavily trafficked areas. Native to Northern Asia and Western Europe, Motherwort made its way over to North America in the 19th century with American colonists. Packed with over 280 phytochemical compounds, including antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the benefits of Motherwort are abundant. This lion-hearted herb is a must-have for your apothecary.
Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your health care practitioner before adding any new herbs to your wellness routine.
Motherwort’s Latin name, Leonurus cardiaca, translates to ‘lion-hearted’, speaking to its ability to open the heart and ease stressful states. Motherwort’s common name hints at its association with motherhood and uterine health.
History of Use
Indigenous peoples in America, including the Delaware, Oklahoma, Micmac, Mohegan, and Shinnecock used a Motherwort infusion to support gynecological wellness. The Cherokee and Iroquois used it as a digestive aid, sedative and nerve tonic (1).
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the primary actions of Motherwort (Yi Mu Cao) include stimulating blood flow, breaking stasis and regulating menses. It is often prescribed for irregular menstruation, loss of menstruation, and cramping (2).
Benefits of Motherwort
The terpenoids found in Motherwort can stimulate circulation and oxygenate the blood. Due to the presence of a vasodilating chemical alkaloid called leonurine, this herb eases heart palpitations and slows a rapid heartbeat (3).
Motherwort’s sedative properties work to ease anxiety and stress both physically and emotionally. It nourishes the emotional heart, helping to melt away anxiety, tension, and stress. One study suggested that Motherwort, in combination with amino acids, can rival the support of anti-anxiety medications currently on the market (4).
Motherwort acts on the smooth muscle of the uterus, strengthening reproductive health. Its anti-spasmodic and calming properties soothe cramping and balance menstrual irregularities (3). Motherwort is also a wonderful herbal ally for women entering into menopause (5).
How to Identify and Harvest Motherwort
As with most mints, Motherwort grows in the wild and has distinctive botanical features. Growing from 2-10 feet tall, this herb has a square stem, opposite leaves, and a flowering top with pale, pink flowers. Its leaves are dull green in color and furry in texture. Intensely bitter, an easy way to identify Motherwort is by tasting its leaves.
Motherwort is best harvested after it has flowered. When harvesting, the leaves and flowers are packed with the most medicinal benefits. Harvesting the uppermost part of the plant ensures that it will continue to grow and offer abundant medicine for others.
How to Add Motherwort to Your Wellness Routine
Our intentional formulations make it easy to incorporate this lion-hearted herb into your routine.
Soothe anxiety and promote deep, restful sleep with our Feel Calm tincture.
Ease menstrual discomfort and support a regulated cycle with our Female Harmony tincture.
Single Herb Tincture
We offer Motherwort in a bioavailable, single herb tincture.
Find dried, organic Motherwort in our Botanical Dispensary.
Visit Harmonic Arts Live to access webinars that explore more of our favourite herbs and how to use them.
- Moerman, D. E. (1998). Native American Ethnobotany. Taxon, 47(4), 980. https://doi.org/10.2307/1224232
- Liu XH, Pan LL, Zhu YZ. (2012). Active chemical compounds of traditional Chinese medicine Herba Leonuri: implications for cardiovascular diseases. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. , 39(3):274-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2011.05630.x.
- Miao, L., Zhou, Q., Peng, C., Liu, Z., & Xiong, L. (2019). Leonurus japonicus (Chinese motherwort), an excellent traditional medicine for obstetrical and gynecological diseases: A comprehensive overview. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 117, 109060. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2019.109060
- Koshovyi, O., Raal, A., Kireyev, I., Tryshchuk, N. M., Ilina, T., Романенко, Є. О., Kovalenko, S. M., & Bunyatyan, N. D. (2021). Phytochemical and Psychotropic Research of Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca L.) Modified Dry Extracts. Plants, 10(2), 230. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020230
- Evtushenko, T. I., Konovalenko, I. S., & Polovko, N. P. (2017). Development of the technological properties of motherwort dry extract for solid dosage form.
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