Did you know…. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is associatedwith numerous legends of prolonged life? One legend is of a Chinese child emperor who was told he would not live past his teen years. He searched for a remedy to prolong his life and chose a brew from Motherwort. He drank this daily and lived to be 70 years of age.
Motherwort is most commonly used for nervous heart problems such as palpitations and to prevent miscarriage or stress following childbirth. Thus… the common name Motherwort. The plant contains compounds that make it antispasmodic, emmenagogue and sedative. These properties aid in relaxing smooth muscles and in regulating menstrual flow. It can be used in delayed menstruation, PMS and menopausal symptoms associated with anxiety and irritability. Chinese women often combined it with Dong Quai for a menstrual regulator as well. The Greeks, long ago, proclaimed the plants sedative powers. Even then it was valued as a heart remedy and pain reliever for both menstrual cycles and labor.
The Latin name “Leonurus” refer to one of its common name, Lion’s tail, which describes the plants appearance.
The 16th century herbalist John Gerard believed the Latin name “cardiaca” was a direct reflection of its beneficial actions on the heart. According to Nicolas Culpeper, the 17th century astrologer/physician, “There is no better herb to take melancholy vapours from the heart and strengthen it”.
EnglishColonists brought Motherwort to America because it was believed to be one ofthe most important medicines for neuralgia, heart palpitations and childbirth. The Russians used it in the treatment of Rabies due to its neurological sedative effects.
One of the first tinctures I ever made was a combination of Motherwort and Hawthorn. I made it for my (soon to be) husband, who had bouts of heart palpitations bad enough to watch his shirt flutter while lying down. He used the tincture twice daily, and had no more episodes. He was not sure, however, if that was due to the herbs, or the fact that his palpitations came on sporadically. About 6 months later, he was asked to chaperone the FFA to Canada for a camping expedition. By the fourth day, I received a call from him telling me all about the beautiful scenery, going fishing, and many other exciting things. Then he said the previous night, he had to retire early because he was having heart palpitations. I said, “I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m not surprised. You’re tincture is still beside the bed… where you left it.”