Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Main Facts about Motherwort
In mint family, an upright prickly bush with a height of up to 5 feet and a width of 2 feet. Square stem, opposite leaves, small pink lilac colored fuzzy flowers. The plant blossoms in August. It has rather a pungent odour and a very bitter taste. It is a dull green, the leaves paler below, pubescent, especially on the angles of the stem and the underside of the leaves, the hairs varying much in length and abundance. The Greeks gave Motherwort to pregnant women suffering from anxiety; hence the name “mothers herb” or “mother wort”. Leonurus is of the Greek leon, for lion, and ouros, for tail. The plant in flower was seen to resemble the tail of a lion. Cardiaca refers to heart, for it has, through history, found notoriety as a heart tonic.
Using MotherwortMotherwort is mainly used as a cardio tonic as well as nervine tonic. It is used for female support to control hot flashes, regulate the menses, stimulate delayed periods, for menstrual cramps. It is also a sedative and is used to calm the nerves. The combination of motherwort with scullcap and/or valerian can help to relieve pain and stress associated with childbirth. Do not take during pregnancy or while breast feeding.Motherwort is used to promote blood circulation, lower cholesterol, slow a too rapid heart rate, and relieve stress on the heart muscle. Motherwort has a mildly diuretic affect, also aiding high blood pressure. But it is important to note that it is most appropriately effective when high blood pressure is a symptom of excess stress and anxiety. It alleviates symptoms associated with a hyperactive thyroid: heart palpitations, anxiety, sleeplessness, and in some cases depressed appetite. It is, however, contraindicated for those with hypothyroidism. These medicinal actions are confirmed by science to be linked to the bitter glycosides as well as other phytochemicals that motherwort contains. Motherwort has strong influence at balancing regularity of heartbeat, helping with both cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and tachycardia (racing heartbeat).
Motherwort is a remedy for: Anxiety
Cooking with MotherwortMotherwort is most useful taken as a tea. The somewhat bitter taste can be mellowed by adding spices or sweeter tasting herbs. Frequently combined with hawthorn for heart tonics. The fresh or dried flowers can be used as a flavouring in soups, particularly lentil or split pea. They are also used as a flavouring in beer.
How to grow MotherwortMotherwort grows on banks and under hedges, in a gravelly or calcareous soil. It is perfectly hardy and needs no special soil, and the roots will continue for many years. Perennial, if it goes to seed it spreads voraciously.. Full sun. Seedlings should be planted about a foot apart. Harvest when flowers in mid to late summer. Active chemical components are at their highest concentrations when the plant is in bloom.