Motherwort may be just a weed to most, but it has many uses and benefits. Hidden among the other green plants, it thrives and flourishes. If you just look for it, you will find it. If you don’t see it, you’re not looking hard enough, as it can get to ten feet tall in places!
It’s botanical name is Leonurus cardiaca, says a lot right there. Leonurus meaning lion-hearted or of the lion. Motherwort is a strong and robust plant, thriving in most conditions. This most likely occurs, because it is in the mint family, making it hardy and easy to grow.
Cardiaca, of the heart, shows that motherwort has a large affinity for the cardiovascular system and has been used for centuries for that purpose.
The common name, motherwort, also has meaning. With wort meaning “herb”, we get “Mother’s Herb”. This makes it a wonderful remedy for those mothers with anxiety or high stress, and for those who may be worries about their own mother.
- Herbal vinegar – Put in jar, fill with apple cider vinegar and let sit. Goes well in soups, stews, salad dressings, etc.
- Tincture – I prefer to fresh plant material, but one can also use dried. Fill a jar with fresh plant material and then cover with grain alcohol (I use vodka). Let sit for 4-6 weeks and then strain.
- Tonic – Place plant material in water and let sit, like overnight. Strain and drink.
- Tea – Steep some leaves in hot water. But keep in mind, motherwort is a bitter, so it doesn’t make the best tasting tea. Some good partners would be peppermint, chamomile, hibiscus, red clover to help mediate the flavor.
- Fomentation – It is similar to a poultice. You take some plant material, crush it up and let it steep in some hot water. Then take a cloth and soak up some of the liquid. Place it on the body where there is cramping or pain.
- Wine? – yes, the Japanese use motherwort to make a wine or brew. Here is a simple recipe if you are inclined to give it a try!
Motherwort is loaded with many vitamins and minerals, the reason it can help and support our bodies in so many ways.
Motherwort is wonderful for the heart and cardiovascular system. It seems to work even better when paired with a tincture of hawthorn. It may even help those with high blood pressure and heart palpitations.
It is also quite useful for all heart conditions associated with anxiety and tension.
On the emotional side, motherwort may even help with heartache. Use in conjunction with linden or lemon balm to help lift one’s mood and spirits.
This herb is also good for the nervous system in helping calm and relax, especially in stressful situations. Motherwort seems to help alleviate tension and irritability.
There is no better Herb to drive Melancholly Vapors from the Heart, to strengthen it, and make a merry cheerful blith soul.
~Nicholas Culpeper, The English Physician – 1652
Culpepper also classified motherwort among the “loosening medicines,” i.e. those “having a relaxant effect on muscles, tendons, ligaments, and membranes…”
From the name, we know that motherwort is also the herb for women. It helps with PMS, fertility, painful menstruation, hot flashes, lack of menses and delayed menstruation. By toning the uterus, it helps to prevent cramping.
**Do not use during pregnancy!
Motherwort also helps those in pain from MS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and other nerve conditions.
It may also help with intermittent fever diseases such as typhoid, and respiratory ailments, such as bronchitis, asthma, coughing and wheezing.
This herb also supports the kidneys, digestion and helps with night sweats.
Robert Whelan says “I have come to develop a great deal of respect for how much Motherwort can shift a stuck pattern of tension in the heart or in the smooth tissue of the womb. I think that if it is used wisely for the right person it can be a profoundly relaxing and healing herb.”
“*Statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or health condition. It is also recommended that patients check with their doctors before taking herbs, to ensure that there are no contraindications with prescription medications.”