Motherwort – Leonurus cardiaca – Photo-Reader’s Digest Magic and Medicine of Plants

Motherwort – Leonurus cardiaca – Lion’ s Tail

Motherwort  is one of those herbs who’s name says it all when it comes to medicinal qualities.  This herb is used to treat heart conditions (cardiaca) and the female reproductive system (wort is another name for “plant.”)

Nicholas Culpeper, said this about Motherwort in 1653:

there is no better herb to take melancholy vapours from the heart … and make a merry, cheerful, blithe soul.

Motherwort is native to Asia, but naturalized in North American.  Leonurus is a Greek word meaning “lion’s tail”, describing the shaggy leaves.  She is a majestic member of the mint family and can grow up to 5 foot tall.

Medicinally, Motherwort is considered a “tonic” for the heart, especially for heart conditions related to anxiety.  Her calming and antispasmodic properties are used to ease menstrual cramps.  DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT. because of uterine stimulant properties which bring on delayed menses and labor.

Motherwort is a very hardy perennial preferring the moist soil and a little shade of woodland areas.  The aerial parts are harvested while the plant is flowering – be careful and wear gloves because the flower heads are prickly.  Motherwort is one of the first plants to come up in the spring and a welcome sight indeed – just seeing this little jewel makes me “merry and cheerful!”

Young Motherwort plant coming up in April.

Young Motherwort plant coming up in April.