Motherwort Herb


Also known as Leonurus cardiaca, lion's ear, lion's tale, throwwort. 

Introduction  Motherwort is a mint with dull green, hairy leaves and an intensely bitter taste. The botanical name Leonurus refers to a fanciful resemblance of the leaves to a lion's tale. Native to Central Asia, the German E Commission has stated that it may be useful for nervous cardiac disorder and as an adjuvant for hyper-function of the thyroid. Many noted herbalists have gone on record that motherwort is also something mood elevator. Nicholas Culpepper wrote that motherwort will make "the mind cheerful, blithe, and merry". Maude Grieve wrote that there is "no better herb for strengthening and gladdening the heart". Many folk remedies revolve around motherwort, as well.  Several associate its usefulness as an herb for the transition period of a women's life, in fact the Chinese name for it, yi mu cao, translates as "benefit mother herb." One rather odd Hindu tale relates that if you make a tea of motherwort and add it to the laundry when you wash your socks and underwear, you will bring peace to your home. 

Constituents  Motherwort contains four groups of medicinally active chemicals: 

  • Caffeic acid 4-rutinoside. 
  • Diterpenes of the labdane type, such as leocardin, a mixture of two epimers of 8b-acetoyx-9a, l3a, l5, l6-bisepoxy-l5-hydroyx-7-oxo- labdan-6b, l9-olide.
  • Flavonoids; rutin, quinqueloside, genkwanin, quercitin, quercetrin, isoquercetrin, hyperoside, and apigenin and kaempferol glucosides.
  • Iridoids: leonuride and others not yet identified.


Parts Used

All the above-ground parts of the plant, gathered after flowering, dried, and cut. 

Typical Preparations  Traditionally used as a tea. Frequently combined with hawthorn. May also be taken as an extract or capsule. 

Summary  The traditional use of motherwort is the treatment of racing heart (tachycardia) caused by nervous tension. Long-term use may reduce the formation of clotting factors and also lower total cholesterol and triglycerides. Motherwort is also used to treat menstrual tension. It treats false labor pains, and it is useful in the stimulation of delayed or suppressed menstruation, especially when prolonged emotional stress is factor. 

Precautions  Consult your physician before using this herb if you take prescription medication for your heart. Not recommended while pregnant.


For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This information courtesy of MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS, with full, written permission for reuse. 

For further traditional information concerning Motherwort, please visit this excellent resource  Used with full, written permission.