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Motherwort

Leonurus cardiaca

Herbs gallery - Motherwort



Common names

  • Lion's Ear
  • Lion's Tail
  • Lion's Tart
  • Motherwort

Although motherwort is indigenous to Europe, over the years, the plant has acclimatized itself to the different conditions all over North America. Presently, motherwort is found in the terrain ranging from Nova Scotia to Montreal and southern parts of North America to Texas and North Carolina. The plant thrives best in vacant plots and other wastelands.

The motherwort is a perpetual plant often growing up to a height of five feet. The herb bears leaves that are hairy and have an unkempt and disheveled look and often resembles the tail of a lion. Owing to the leaves' appearance to the lion's tail, the herb is also known by other common nicknames like lion's ear, lion's tart and of course, lion's tail. The each leaf of motherwort comprises three hemispheres that are shaped like javelins. The herb bears pink, white or purple colored petite flowers that normally blossom between June and September. The motherwort flowers normally blossom in clusters or groups.

Motherwort has several remedial properties, but it is basically known for its beneficial qualities in treating conditions of the womb. For instance, the herb is exceptionally useful in treating painful, belated or suppressed menstrual cycles and also provides relief during child birth. If taken regularly three times a day during the last few weeks of pregnancy, motherwort induces more synchronized retrenchments of the uterus. Or else, the process of contracting the uterus muscles could be agonizingly spasmodic or even insufficient. Significantly, many naturalists are of the opinion that the herb motherwort earned its name from its traditional use in relieving trauma and tension during pregnancy, childbirth as well as motherhood. No doubt, motherwort is basically an excellent antidote for treating the female reproductive organ disorders.

Motherwort encloses alkaloid stachydrine, which helps in stimulating contraction of the uterine muscles. While stachydrine performs the task effectually during the end of pregnancy when the temperament of the uterine muscles undergoes changes, the Braxton-Hicks contraction process begins during the labor. Using motherwort is advantageous during such conditions as along with stimulating the contraction of the uterine muscles, the herb also produces significant sedative and comforting results. The latter property of motherwort is said to be owing to the presence of bitter glycosides that are beneficial in treating the anxiety and trauma related to ensuing child birth. The blend of the soothing and uterotonic properties of motherwort helps it to effectually fulfill both responsibilities as a partus preparator and also make easy child delivery during labor. Incidentally, the herb is also known to have properties that can prevent miscarriage and alleviate false labor pains.

In addition to be a useful remedy for the reproductive system disorders among women, motherwort also possesses properties that invigorate as well as strengthen the cardiac system. Hence, it is also popular as a remedy that is beneficial for the heart. It has already been established that motherwort plays a vital role in the intensification of the heart, particularly during pregnancy and child birth when more pressure is forced on the heart. Many herbal practitioners recommend the use of motherwort to treat anomalies like arrhythmias and also heart palpitations - both of which are closely related to nervousness and stress. On the other hand, the bitter glycosides present in motherwort have been found to possess temporary capabilities to reduce blood pressure.

Parts used

Aerial parts, seeds.

Uses

Motherwort is considered to be an effective medication for all heart and nerve conditions and is also regularly recommended for treating palpitations (fast or irregular heart beats). Researches have established that the motherwort helps in escalation the functioning of the heart, especially where the heart is feeble. Functioning as a mild sedative as well as an anti-spasmodic, rather than causing stupor, the motherwort offers respite from sudden bursts of emotions. On the other hand, the herb invigorates the uterus muscles and hence is effectual in treating conditions like delayed menstruation, menstrual pain and even premenstrual anxiety, especially when the person suffers from any kind of shock or sorrow. Here is a word of caution. The motherwort herb should never be used by women when the menstrual bleeding is more than normal as it may then prove to be detrimental.

Habitat and cultivation

Indigenous to Asia, especially the central regions of the continent, motherwort has now acclimatized to the conditions in most parts of Europe as well as North America. Normally, the herb grows untamed in the wild forests, open areas as well as on the pavements. Motherwort is also cultivated as a garden plant and is harvested during the summer when the plant blossoms.

Constituents

Motherwort contains alkaloids (including L-stachydrine), an iridoid (leonurine), diterpenes, flavonoids, caffeic acid, and tannins.

Usual dosage

The motherwort herb can be consumed both as an infusion or tincture. One may take 200 ml or 8 fluid ounces of the infusion two times every day. On the other hand, the 2 ml or 40 drops of the tincture can be taken thrice daily. The Chinese medicine, however, recommend a different dosage. According to the Chinese medicine, a person may take 9 to 60 g or half to three ounces of the herb daily.

How it works in the body

The history of the motherwort shows that the herb is an effectual medication for the entire circulation system including the cardiac, vascular, heart and blood, especially where there are any irregular or fast heart beat or when the system is provoked by the anxiety owing to trauma or anxiety. It may be noted here that the motherwort also functions as a sedative and anti-spasmodic that helps in controlling the heart. In addition, the herb also acts like a tonic to reinforce the heart. Herbal medicine practitioners also use motherwort to treat high blood pressure. The herb is also effective in curing reproductive system disorders among women. The anti-spasmodic action of motherwort helps in stimulating the uterine muscles thereby treating delayed menstruation cycles. Moreover, motherwort is effective in treating pre-menstrual syndrome, particularly during the initial menopause. The Chinese herbal medicine practitioners use the motherwort to cure several other reproductive system disorders and they include irregular menstruation cycles, pre-menstrual pain, and treating infertility as also curing the stock-still abdominal masses.

Applications

Like many other medicinal plants, the motherwort can be taken internally as infusion, syrup and tincture. Externally, the herb may also be used as douche. On the other hand, motherwort seed may be used to prepare decoction and eyewash.

Aerial parts:
INFUSION: The infusion prepared from motherwort many be used as a tonic to treat menopausal symptoms, anxiety, weakness of the heart as well as menstrual pain. The infusion is useful when taken by adding two to three cloves during labor. The infusion is also useful for women after childbirth as it then helps to do up the uterus as well as diminish the hazard of postpartum or post-delivery bleeding.
SYRUP: Normally, the motherwort syrup is prepared by concentrating the infusion with a view to conceal the flavor and make it tastier. The syrup may be taken in the same manner as the infusion.
TINCTURE: The motherwort tincture too may be used in the similar way as the infusion. Normally, herbal practitioners prescribe the motherwort tincture along with other herbs like hawthorn to serve as a heart tonic.
DOUCHE: The motherwort infusion or diluted tincture prepared with the herb may be used externally to clean vaginal infections and discharges.
Seeds:
DECOCTION: Dried and crushed motherwort seeds may be used to prepare a decoction that is beneficial to treat different menstrual problems.
EYEWASH: Dilute the motherwort decoction and use it as eyewash to treat conjunctivitis or aching and tired eyes.

Harmonizing mother tincture

  • 1 cup (250 ml) spirits (60%-90% alcohol content) : brandy, gin, vodka
  • 1 oz (30 g) fresh motherwort leaves

Combine all the ingredients and let stand in a glass jar away from light for 1 month. Strain.
Take 10 drops at a time, 3 times daily for acute cases. The treatment can be extended for up to 3 consecutive months. The tincture has a bitter taste, but it works quickly and effectively. For use against anxiety attacks, hysteria, gastritis and heart palpitations.

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