Botanical Musings: Motherwort -

Botanical Musings: Motherwort

Leonurus cardiaca
Common names: motherwort, lion’s tail
Family: Lamiaceae


  • Nervine
  • Antispasmodic
  • Uterine tonic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Bitter
  • Hypotensive
  • Cardiotonic


  • Period problems or irregularities
  • Amenorrhoea (no periods)
  • Scanty period
  • Period pain
  • PMS
  • Anxiety, stress or tension
  • Heart palpitations or anxiety experienced in the chest
  • Low, sluggish digestion
  • Eases hot flashes and night sweats
  • An excellent herb for postpartum depletion, depression and anxiety
  • Calms an overactive thyroid in higher doses
  • In lower doses, assists with low mood and menstrual irregularities of an underactive thyroid
  • Perimenopausal problems, especially depression, anxiety and mood swings


This is the most restorative and nurturing herb in my herbal medicine chest.

Motherwort is a beautiful plant with a significant presence. She has many similarities to mugwort and tulsi, but what makes a difference is that she can calm you down very quickly. There are not too many herbs that you can feel working so instantly.

As her name suggests, she embodies the spirit of a mother. Her Latin name, Leonorus cardiaca, translates to lionhearted one. She’s an ally for soft strength, cultivating patience, lifting low moods and grounding down anxiety.

If you find the energy of ovulation too intense, motherwort can help to temper you down. If you’re feeling exhausted by your inner late-summer, and know that you’re entering your inner autumn raw and depleted, motherwort will build a soothing buffer around you.

She’s bitter, which improves the digestion of food and assists the liver and processing hormones.

A Herb for Transitions

If you’re going through any kind of transition, whether that’s settling into womanhood, motherhood, menopause, moving cities, a new job or the end of a relationship, using motherwort as an ally is like having a loving mother’s arms to support you through.

A Supreme Herb for Menstruator’s Health

Motherwort is a uterine tonic that is stimulating, which is excellent for scanty or irregular periods. If you’re experiencing heavy bleeding, only take motherwort in small amounts until you have balanced your hormones.

If you’re inner-autumn is a difficult time, especially if you’re experiencing anxiety, worrying about the welfare and safety of your loved ones, panic attacks or “freaking out”, motherwort will help calm and relax you.

An Ally for Recovery from Viral Infections

Post-viral fatigue is a phenomenon where your body doesn’t fully recover from a viral infection. It refers to a cluster of symptoms that include fatigue, malaise, low exercise tolerance and a feeling of ‘not being quite right’. This is particularly common of Epstein Barr Virus (also known as glandular fever or mononucleosis) and cytomegalovirus.

I learned from herbalist, Stephen Harrod Buhner, motherwort’s ability to help protect cell structures (the mitochondria) that can be affected by these viral strains. I have employed this in practice in a number of cases and have found this use to be helpful.

Printable moon map and fertility chart by Clara Bitcon Bailey Naturopath

Notes from the Apothecary

Motherwort is an unpleasant tasting herb to have as a tea. I have, however, acquired a taste and almost a craving for that bitterness when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need grounding down.

For period pain, drink throughout the month as a tea (the sweetness from the liquorice will balance the bitterness out):

1 part raspberry leaf
1/4 part motherwort
1/4 part ginger
1/4 part liquorice root

Add 1 heaped tablespoon to 1 cup of boiled water and allow to steep for 15 minutes.

Making an oil maceration and combining with ginger essential oil is a wonderful womb rub.

I like to combine an extract with the flower essence Bottlebrush, which is excellent as your own personalised rescue remedy in times of change and transition.

You can make it into herbal honey or a particularly luscious way I love to make it, is to cover a jar of dried motherwort with whiskey, allow to sit for one month, strain and combine in a bottle with 4 parts herbal whiskey with 1 part raw honey. After a stressful day, you can have yourself a wee little dram!

For adrenal and thyroid concerns (especially in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) a blend of the following extracts in most helpful:

20% Motherwort
20% Withania
20% Reishi
10% Ginger
10% Rosemary
10% Licorice
10% Rehmannia

60 drops (2ml) four time a day until energy begins to pick back up and then maintained at two times a day.

This, of course, cannot be done in isolation: nourishment, lifestyle and nutritional factors need to be considered.

Caution: not safe during pregnancy. Avoid if you actively trying to conceive. If you are taking blood pressure medication, avoid taking this plant as it naturally will help to lower blood pressure

Safe during breastfeeding – in fact, it’s encouraged!


Herbal Medicine

May 30, 2019

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